February 17, 2013
The Sixties: A Comic Book Heaven
Of course, everyone is, and always has been, slightly mad. Still, repressing the unreasonable side of his nature man in the Western world has, since the eighteenth century, built a civilization based on scientific reason and classic Aristotelian logic- the heritage of the Enlightenment. And the result, especially in this country [US] during the past fifty years [article dated 1970], has been a rational society that has made one technological break through after another, from the invention of the pop-up toaster to the ability to land men on the moon. Here, until recently, two plus two had inevitably equaled four, not five, as Eastern mystics suggest, and no one other than J.D. Salinger had been able to imagine the sound of one hand clapping.
–Thomas Meehan- Horizon Magazine, Spring 1970.
Comic books were first sold in 1933-34. Thus the first two comic book generations coincide with those too young to serve in WWII while many of the first generation was obliged to serve in the Korean war while the second generation missed both.
How deeply the mind of the first generation of comic book readers was formed is problematical. Comic books didn’t take their classic form until 1938 when the character of Superman was formed. The number of comic characters proliferated during WWII but as these, i.e. Capt. America, were war specific they fell out of favor after WWII.
The first generation of potential comic book readers, those born from 1933-34 formed the substratum for the sixties when they created rock and roll and the base for 60s pop culture during the 50s. That was Presley, Sanford Clark, Cash, Vincent, Nelson et al.
Following the war those born in 1937-38 and subsequently through about 1943-44 had their minds formed by comic books although not all to the same degree. A significant percentage of them were forbidden to read comics by their parents, perhaps wisely. There were some who indulged themselves indiscriminately. I was one of those. I read them all, avidly. The question is how were we affected?
There was a terrific reaction against comic books. Angry parents fought to have them banned. In perhaps the only, certainly of a very few, successful efforts of censorship, comics were banned in 1954. The survivor, of course, was Mad Magazine published by the worst offender, William C. Gaines. All of the comic book readers plus many of those formerly excluded shifted to Mad thus further polluting our brains. While I never gave up reading the comic books till their banning I did abandon Mad for political reasons after a year or so.
Now, with the exception of Capt. Marvel, and that may only be partial, the comics were exclusively of Jewish origins. Thus we in the US, Britain was excluded, were shown the Jewish point of view without our knowing.
One of the key themes was the all male group of do-gooders. These were some of my favorites. The tops, perhaps, was the very influential Blackhawks comics. The Blackhawks were a group of five ex-WWII pilots who each owned his P-38 fighter and flew around the world, Third World mainly, if I remember correctly, righting wrongs they recognized more quickly and efficiently, that is vigilante style, than organized government could or would. I remember the Blackhawks as terrific, I loved them. The fellowship of the pilots, each with a different character, each loyal to the others was something that I and I suppose every reader wished to emulate, especially the notion of a bonded group of five like minded guys.
Another was called the Daredevil. He had a red and blue set of body tights upper right and lower left red and vice versa for the blue. Weird but that’s the way he was. Daredevil was a surrogate father figure to five orphan boys, same character makeup as the Blackhawks, who righted wrongs in their neighborhood and lived in the same clubhouse. The later musical group The Monkees was probably based on them. The Monkees were short one, being four, which lessened their impact. If they’d had that fifth member I would have been an avid fan although older by then.
Thus in 1954 the origins of Top 40 began on radio. Twenty four hours round the clock seven days a week full time music. An innovation created by the arrival of television. The first generation of rockers were solo artists. Some came attached with a band such Bill Haley And The Comets or Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps who were proto-Blackhawk type groups but mainly they were solo artists with a band not a group. Presley, Sanford Clark and that curious mixture of both, Ricky Nelson.
The societal maturation process was continuing and then in the mid-sixties the Charlatans came down from the hills of Virginia City dressed in movie style cowboy outfits to home base San Francisco and the first group of costumed crusaders a la the Blackhawks burst forth in full flower.
In Britain the situation was somewhat different although coeval with the US. While the US escaped devastation in WWII the South of England was bombarded mercilessly destroying millions of buildings. A good representation of the situation may be found in John Boorman’s I suppose accurate, I wasn’t there, movie, The Hope And The Glory. As Boorman, who was there, portrays it, acres and acres of rubble stretched in every direction. The kids who scavenged and roamed the area are portrayed as little savages. An interesting education for the age cohort that came of age in the fifties.
Those born in the early forties, the core of the second generation of rockers, themselves played in this same although shrinking devastation. But rations were short in hard hit Britain, restrictions were not lifted until 1954. How their psychology was impaired isn’t so clear, although in the mid-sixties a wild party time called Swinging London appeared. Gay abandon one might say.
The group situation there may have been the result of the generation’s discovery of American slave music- Rhythm And Blues. R&B as a new entry to the British music scene met with resistance so that the devotees were possibly forced to form small groups who recognized each other, many wanting to play the music so they naturally formed groups, two guitars, drums, bass and a singer.
At any rate the British invasion of the US consisted of these four and five man groups coinciding with the comic book groups of the US.
Other formative influences other than comics and radio were films and TV. Those all involved a specific point of view repeated ad nauseum or lessons from a know-it-all crusader cum super hero.
Of course we all grew up with Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry among others during the forties but with the fifties came the fantastic science fiction movies. One of the most important was The Day The Earth Stood Still with its famous characters Klaatu and Gort. The premise was preposterous but no one got it. Klaatu is an alien landing a saucer in the US. He is here to vet Earthlings to see if the they are ready to enter the intergalactic community in which peace reigns. Alas, Earthlings, you and me, are hopelessly primitively addicted to violence. Klaatu boards his saucer with a sign of benediction delivering a long sermon about shaping up and saying he’ll be back if we ever sort things out. Alright.
Movie after movie repeated the same message until today people actually believe that extra-terrestrials are all peaceful and Earth is the only rogue planet in the universe. Ask anyone. Flying Saucers were portrayed as hovering out there where the communications satellites would soon be. There they carefully studied mankind for any sign of the diminution of violence. Boy, I bet they think they’ve been wasting their time. Imagine circling Earth for seventy years waiting for indications of peacefulness. Obviously they’ve been sadly disappointed while being joined by the Negro Mother Wheel that appeared some time in the seventies to keep them company Hello, Earth calling Mother Wheel.
These movies established the idea that the whole universe except for Earth is highly developed and pacific along with the idea that Earthlings are worthless, hence most people accepted as fact we were being watched by superior beings and found wanting. We were inferior.
The movies established the notion that there were millions of inhabited worlds out there inhabited by superior beings who could travel billions of light years and get to home base in time for dinner. ‘Honey, I’m home.’
Now, at the same time, pulp magazines existed. Monthly editions of Amazing Stories, Astounding Tales and other poured out endless reams of the most astonishing stuff imaginable. Thus, all three, comics, pulps and movies, sci-fi and movies were rushing through our minds, forming expectations. Of course, the number of us who read sci-fi, almost as despised by parents as the comics, was small, but then as TV developed, Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Star Trek came along both of which mined the sci-fi stories of the fifties while spreading the notions throughout the entire population. This reduced the intellectual discrimination of the people whose minds were prepared to accept anything.
These years of the fifties were very crowded with the most exciting new developments. TV was perhaps at the top of the list. Bear in mind that cable didn’t exist. There weren’t even three channels in most places including a major market like the San Francisco Bay Area. People didn’t think TV would be profitable. The channels didn’t even broadcast until noon and shut down at ten o’clock prime time. There was no 24/7 TV.
There wasn’t even enough original programming to fill a ten hour day so they ran old movies and almost anything anyone could think up. Arthur Godfrey’s show ran for hours every day.
One of those odd things they chose to fill time was a character called Crusader Rabbit. I don’t know how well remembered the Rabbit is today but he had a profound effect in forming the minds of the 60s generation. Crusader Rabbit was a distant relative of the Blackhawks. While they flew around the world able to determine who were the good guys and who the bad, Crusader Rabbit was a self-righteous little bastard of a vigilante squad who instilled certain little minds with his self-righteousness and made them think they should impose their vision of reality on the world by mounting ‘crusades.’ Hawkeye of the later TV series Mash combined Crusader Rabbit with the Blackhawks.
Now, all this was happening in a short six years from 1950 to 1956. In many ways this was a major intellectual/psychological revolution preceding those revolutions of the sixties.
Equally, if not more important, was what was happening in the classrooms of our schools.
If an astonishing variety of educations was going on outside the classrooms what was going on inside was no less astonishing. I don’t know if everyone saw it the way I did but I had a tough time assimilating what I heard. Of course American superiority and the inferiority of Europeans was standard staple. At the same time we were warned to be humble as bearers of these great gifts and to share them with our inferiors who after all couldn’t help it that they weren’t born Americans. True enough I suppose.
And, because of the success of our own American revolution, barring any negative thoughts caused by the French and Bolshevik revolutions, we were taught, indeed, indoctrinated and conditioned to believe that revolution per se was good, indeed, a blessing. Ignoring whatever may have been going on in the world we were taught to revere the South American George Washington, Simon Bolivar, who flitted from country to country on the whole continent until he came to end of it in Venezuela tossing the Spanish aside like so much chaff. Viva Bolivar, hey? Well, Viva Zapata next.
Well, I came from the orphanage and I had a different idea of right and wrong. Heroes were much scarcer for me than for the kids from normal homes.
By the time we got to high school, 1953-56, teachers were preaching revolution, revolution, revolution full bore. Revolution was everywhere. Minute changes in processed breakfast cereals were described as revolutions. Crusader Rabbit was a revo. Who wasn’t?
The reverence for revolution continued in college too. Another four years of revo, rah, rah, rah followed in college which ended for my class in 1960. Portentous year, what? That was the year our limp President, John F. Kennedy created the Peace Corp. We were eager to share our wonderful achievement so recent college graduates with absolutely no knowledge of the world and inadequate educations sallied forth to tell the world how to do it right. OK? How’s that for arrogance?
Now, there were plenty of revolutions in progress in 1960 and all those graduates from say, 1954 to 1959, were primed for revo. Lived for it, breathed for it. They didn’t even have to be recruited; they went searching for it. Give us revolution, they screamed.
These were years of the magnificent march of progress too. Years of change and hope, revolutions one might say, in all areas of endeavor. The people born from 1938 to 1945 leaped in with both feet and arms flailing. The sixties belonged to us, it was a world that we would make ourselves.
The next age cohort born from ‘46-’53 would be instrumental in forming the seventies, the eighties going to the next age cohort. Of course these cohorts created nothing merely extending the ethic of the 60s’ cohort. The interesting thing is that there was a fairly complete break between us and The Greatest Generation as our fathers have been styled.
Those revolutionary minded teachers of our were mostly born c. 1890 so they were at the tail end of the post-Civil War corps, lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. Our fathers born somewhere around 1918 caught the Depression and WWII while witnessing the Korean War. We younger ones, in the US, avoided that while TV, Top 40 and other assorted wonders made us rather distinct, nothing alike in outlook. Our fathers didn’t really like, couldn’t trust us, and certainly were not going to accord us the dignity of adulthood and the authority that goes with it. So we grew distant from them not really thinking an awful lot of them or giving them our trust. Fuck, they couldn’t even deal with the Mafia.
Politically they kept control during the sixties while culturally and socially we managed affairs. As it was a new beginning of sorts the succeeding age cohorts respected us and what may be called our achievements, sex, drugs and rock and roll, but still maintaining that sense of breakfast cereal revo.
To make the break even sharper, in 1960 the real old guard headed by Eisenhower checked out and an Irish upstart son of a bootlegger, Jack Kennedy, leader of the Celtish Camelot and a guy who could twist the night away even with a bad back, attempted to lead the way.
His best wasn’t very good and he caught a piece of flying lead allowing that pale Texan reincarnation of FDR to see how badly he could muff it. He did a good job of muffing it too.
So, there we were on the brink of 1960 raring to show the world what we could do. Really revo the whole machine? We’ll see.
The psychological background of the sixties as exhibited by the second rock generation from 1938 to 1945 is a major manifestation of an effort begun back in the WWII days. It is the realization of the theologico-metaphysical notion of what Sigmund Freud dubbed the Unconscious. As the quote opening this essay indicates the sixties was the undoing of the several hundred year effort to realize the conscious. We thought we’d seen enough of the unconscious to last much more than a millennium. As the effort was begun before the awareness of the nature of the Un or subconscious the effort was achieved as Mr. Meehan states by the repression of sub-conscious motives not their elimination.
Freud quickly discerned this and he understood the function of dreams that he called the ‘royal road to the unconscious.’ Thus the motto he appended to his volume The Interpretation Of Dreams published appropriately in 1900 is ‘Flectare si nequeo, Superos, Acheronta movebo.” which translated means ‘If I cannot deflect the will of heaven I shall move hell.’
Freud interpreting the conscious mind as heaven chose to deemphasize consciousness in favor of his vision of the unconscious that he interpreted as Hell. Thus, you will find almost nothing in Freudian psychology referring to the conscious mind while he enthrones his Unconscious as the moderator of the human mind. He actually believed that the Unconscious was an agency separate from the body. In theological terms it had a supernatural existence. Thus, he has negated consciousness, or Science, in favor of Religion. As he has rejected God or Heaven then it follows that he embraced Satan and Hell.
As the sixties progressed the generation abandoned consciousness embracing unconsciousness. Time Magazine proclaimed in 1966 ‘God Is Dead’ while Satanism came alive, indeed according to Ira Levin in his novel, Rosemary’s Baby, Satan’s son, Andy, was born in 1966 just as God died. Levin continued his story in 1999’s Son Of Rosemary. Interesting.
It is no coincidence that Freud was both a druggie and a homosexual. Now, the royal road to free the mind of consciousness or Heaven is an obsession with sex and the free indulgence of drugs especially Freud’s favorite, cocaine backed with a pounding jungle beat. Eh voila- the sixties.
Sex, drugs and the hypnotic jungle beat of Rock and Roll. The sex was facilitated by the introduction of the birth control pill and anti-biotics; the amusing Shel Silverstein sang of Penicillin Penny who always had VD. If the girls took the pill both they and their boys were freed from the fear of pregnancies while the ga-ga types had no fear of Venereal disease because the cure was quick and easy by a regimen of anti-biotic pills. Almost paradise here and now and on Earth. For less than a buck you could get a nice big piece of pie too.
Freud had achieved his goal; he had overturned Aryan society.
Freud essentially by fraud allowed us to indulge forbidden appetites and responsibility from forbidden acts, for after all as the conscious mind had no authority and the will of the unconscious was unresistible we had no responsibility for our acts- If it felt good, we did it, as the mantra was. Hence by 1966 we had Richard Speck killing all those nurses in Chicago and Charlie Whitman up his clock tower at UT blowing away his fellow students. Guns aren’t the problem; Freud is the problem.
Hell, Dick and Charlie just wanted to be free. Indeed, freedom in the freest of all societies became a problem to the generation.
Sally Banks in her Greenwich Village 1963, Chapter 5, appropriately titled, Dreaming Freedom, explains her views on what being free actually meant to her and a very large part of the age cohort. She is writing from New York City.
In 1963 freedom was a vital political issue charged with artistic consequences for both the mainstream and avant-garde. Part of the avant-garde’s utopian vision was that liberty could be found within community. But, in fact, the very concept of freedom sets autonomy and the notion of individualism in conflict with the bondedness of community. For social life is a potent source of restraint [suppression of freedom], yet, paradoxically, total freedom would mean the humanly unrealizable (and unbearable) state of complete isolation. Thus there is a deep ambivalence in Western culture toward freedom and social life. The dream of community, itself, may be incompatible with the dream of freedom, a contradiction the avant-garde sought to discover.
The Sixties artists’ constructed an art that re-imagined daily life in terms of achieving both liberation and community. If such a situation proved illusory, in 1963 it seemed necessary- and it still seemed possible given the booming economic infrastructure- to find a model that would make these imaginings concrete.
Yes, people wanted total freedom- that is a disconnect from the reality of having to deal with unpleasant facts- free from all restraints including gravity and mostly free from themselves. The drugs seemed to serve as those releases. Under the influence people could imagine themselves as someone else who ‘really had their shit together‘, miracle men and women able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, move mountains with the wave of a hand, fly through the air like a host of angels but they inevitably came back down where if they were anywhere near a mirror they could watch their bodies disintegrate.
Freedom from reality has its price.
So, the sixties that began with such ‘High Hopes’ to realize ‘The Impossible Dream’ of Camelot began to crash in 1966 just as like a flash of lightning in the sky the realization of those dreams seemed to dawn. As Lewis Carroll said, be careful that your Snark is not a boojum, for you see….
The Truth Is No Defense
The sixties, then, was when the impasse between the Scientific Method came into its latter day conflict with the Theologico-Metaphysical mindset. The T-M system is merely a mental state that not only does not require objective validation but positively rejects it in favor of subjectiveness; what Freud called inner wishful thinking.
While the sciences of sociology and anthropology and biology produced irrefutable, by logical methods, results that ran counter to the inner wishful T-M thinking, as there were no means to refute the scientific results the T-M people merely denied them and forced scientists to suppress their accurate but uncongenial truths.
To ensure that the truths were suppressed and remained suppressed the T-M partisans passed laws making it criminal to express these truths. These laws called ‘hate’ laws were then applied to any who spoke these truths. As the truths were undeniable T-M partisans corrupted the law, common sense, and, one might say, the will of God to declare in a court of law by the judges that ‘the truth is not a defense.’
The truth is not a defense! Think about it. Such a rule of law is the triumph of absolute criminality and ignorance. And this happened during the watch of an age cohort that claimed to love freedom and revolution. Well, it was a revolution, one that enslaves the mind.
Now, in a position to punish those who disagreed with them the beneficiaries of the T-M mentality were able to enshrine their will as the law of the land. As the law was no longer concerned with the judgment of facts as evidence but the religious beliefs of the T-Ms the US at that point turned into a theocracy. The religious left became an established religion running counter to the old dispensation of the Constitution in favor of something not yet codified and something not approved by the former electorate that now became passive and an ineffective annoyance to the new slave masters.
The ruling social ethos in the US when the sixties dawned was the theory of the Melting Pot formulated by the Jewish writer Israel Zangwill c. 1900. According to that theory that had nearly the effect of a law all the disparate social elements forming the population of the US would fuse into one people of uniform American belief.
In 1960 or thereabouts the new theory of multi-culturalism was introduced which stated that each culture should have an autonomous existence. This was the dream, wishful thinking, of the wannabe Jewish Autonomous people. Nothing new, it was their age old dream. Thus the body politic of the US as a matter of principle was fractured into many warring cultures.
While the Melting Pot had always been a fantasy having no real existence in fact multi-culturalism was alive and real and exacerbated in 1965 when the immigration act was reformed allowing unlimited immigration to all the peoples of the world. And if they didn’t come willingly members of the T-M mentality went into the actual jungles of Africa, dragged the natives out, put them on a plane, free fare, and flew them to the US.
What can one say to such zaniness.
The whole notion of freedom advocated by the age cohort was thus negated. Dozens of laws were passed giving these ‘immigrants’ precedence over the rights of the native population, depriving the natives of equal rights. This is a true story. Incredible but true.
And lastly, for this essay we come to the complete overturn of reason in favor of a comic book utopia and the installation of an age of inner wishful thinking caused by the introduction of drugs as a mass phenomenon.
Drugs in the sixties were nothing new. Drugs begin to show up in literature during the nineteenth century Romantic period. Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions Of An English Opium Eater is the first famous confession or novel on the topic. Opium was much used in Victorian England as an ingredient in Laudanum which was given to infants to make them stop crying.
Opium was further reduced to morphine and then heroin. Freud is famous as the promoter of the joys of cocaine, synthesized from the coca plant. As chemistry developed, synthetic chemical drugs such as amphetamine began making their appearance at the end of the century.
Drug labs were busy and soon creating drugs that attacked any area of the brain. LSD was discovered in 1938 and popularized after 1943. Drugs like Miltown and other tranquilizers began filling women’s purses after 1950. Pot and hash had been simmering below the Hot 100 for some time but moved up the charts after 1960. So the whole pharmacopeia was available as the decade began. New formulas would be discovered in the following decades as drugs became part of the entertainment industry.
Drugs of course suppress the conscious mind exposing the raw wiring of the user. They also lower resistance to hypnotic influence. Hypnosis is merely a heightened sensitivity to suggestion. A drugged out population can be swayed by propaganda as no other, which is merely suggestion by another name, in any direction. They can be swayed but you mist control the means to do so. The mass media was the means, namely TV, Movies and records, and it was in the control of Jews with their special agenda.
Thus Movies, TV and Records propagandized a pro Jewish revolution agenda along with its subordinate Negro revolution agenda.
It is strange how all trends worked to favor the Negro/Jewish agenda. Of course, Jews had been instrumental in breaking down Aryan resistance to Negro music. Jewish DJs such as Alan Freed and Cousin Brucie along with Jewish song writers such as the hugely influential Leiber and Stoller and Goffin-King led the assault.
The songs they wrote were performed by Negro artists. While the Jewish song writers were not so familiar with Aryan culture as is supposed it was enough to bridge the Aryan-Negro gap making the Negro performances potable while paving the way for Barry Gordy’s Motown label.
As of 1960 there was virtually no one who listened to or was familiar with Negro Blues. The Blues was brought forward by the British Invasion who apparently listened to that crap. I am always astonished by White Blues artists citing Robert Johnson as a source. There was nothing available by Robert Johnson until 1960 when CBS released its first collection that virtually no one bought. The second collection was released in ‘62 with the same result.
I first heard of Robert Johnson in 1968 when I owned a record store. Many people talked about the Blues but when I started a first rate Blues section the records remained untouched and unsold. I doubt that I ever had a Robert Johnson sale.
I was in a university town and when such Blues artists as Lightning Hopkins were brought to town the ‘séances’ were held in someone’s living room with maybe fifteen people attending, ten of which were girls worshipping blackness. Nevertheless White Blues was popularized by the British, spreading to American performers.
I should point out that White performers of the forties and early fifties such as the Singing Cowboy Gene Autry sang may Blues based songs. Autry’s song The Yellow Rose Of Texas that is of course about a Negro woman.
By decades end the cohort’s fascination with exaggerated notions of freedom and revolution had turned into drug addiction and violence. By the late sixties looney tunes like Bomber Billy Ayers and his female side kick Bernardine Dohrn with their Weatherman organization and the Jewish Defense League and its offshoot the Jewish Defense Organization were killing and bombing at will and furthermore they would get away with it. ‘Free as a bird and guilty as Hell.’ as Bomber Billy Ayers would put it.
So by the end of decade ending with the Caped Crusader, Mick Jagger, at Altamont a comic book vision of reality had triumphed over the real thing. Who can forget Mick Jagger mounted on a giant inflatable cock on stage before sixty thousand people. Now, there was a comic book fantasy. Two and two added up to any number you wanted.
January 1, 2013
Chap. 6, Marianne Faithfull: Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
Orders From Headquarters
This chapter will center around the Global Communist Cultural Revolution phase kicked off in 1968 while being managed by Mao Tse Tung who replaced the Russians as managing director.
The purpose of the CR was to destroy the Bourgeois past replacing it with itself. Hence Ira Levin who wrote Rosemary’s Baby in which Satan’s child is named Andy posited 1966 as the Year One much as the failed new dating of the French Revolution of 1789. ‘89 was the Year One of that Revolutionary calendar. Perhaps in preparation for the CR in 1965 in the US new immigration reform was pushed through Congress that opened the gates of the US to the world, especially Africa, Mexico and the East. By 1968 West and East Asians were flooding into the country. As seems obvious now this was with the intent to subvert and destroy the Aryan hold on the US.
In his song Bob Dylan would sing: In the museums infinity goes up on trial, in an opening blast on destroying past culture as displayed in museums. In China Mao was less timorous as huge gangs of the Red Guards coursed through museums smashing irreplaceable cultural artefacts. They even invaded peoples homes ransacking the houses destroying anything of value. Culture bearers such as college professors or any educated persons were rounded up and sent out to reeducation camps to work at manual labor; tens of millions were murdered outright. Regular people were called before neighborhood re-education cells to confess their bourgeois faults and pledge to Communists faults.
Outside of China local agents were recruited from Communist ranks; college campuses suddenly sprouted Chinese Communist stores selling Mao’s Little Red Book and those pretty little pins sporting a
gold Mao against a red enameled background. Nice work and cheap too. Any campus that hadn’t been disrupted by ‘Free Speech Movements’ now came under attack by the Cultural Revolution. The end result would be Kent State.
As no one knew what was going on the Cultural Revolutionists seized the institutions beginning to establish the tone, the matrix with which opinions would be considered. This was established in subtle ways that few noticed and even they hadn’t a clue as to who or why. The Revolutionists had seized the cultural venues of movies, TV, newspapers, magazines and music, or, recordings. One of the key units in recorded music was the Rolling Stones. Mick was a Communist, at least since his London School of Economics days.
Even before the Redlands Bust he had been bleating that victory was his side’s because ‘they had the kids’ in the palm of their hands. The bust had been a cold douche that rankled Mick to his core. The revolutionists were of the mind set that they were going to fight and win and never lose. Thus the mild reprimand of the bust struck Mick as foul play, an unforgivable insult and injury.
Many people in the US were brought up short when their outrages were tried and sentences passed. I know people who went to prison for their outrageous criminal acts. They were considered martyrs. They couldn’t comprehend what they had done wrong anyway. Of course, by their own revolutionary lights what they had done was right; unfortunately the law, the authorities and the people, who Nixon called the Silent Majority were not of the same mind.
Mick found this out to his chagrin although he vowed revenge. Like Sigmund Freud and many another if he couldn’t move the higher powers he would enlist the aid of the lower. Thus after escaping his prison sentence the Stones metamorphosed into Satanic sorcerers for the cover of their Dec. 1968 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request.
Mick After A Lifetime Walking Down The Long And Winding Road
The title itself was a play on the Queen’s request on British passports for the visited countries to allow the visitor to pass. Thus in the Freudian sense Mick elevated himself to a competing royal status with the crown as their Satanic enemy. One presumes that being a Stones’ fan was the entre into Satanic circles.
Mick was not new to Satanic ideas. He ran with Bob Fraser and Chris Gibbs while having at least met the US Satanist Kenneth Anger who was associated with the West Coast big daddy of Satanists, Anton La Vey. In addition he was probably already known to Donald Cammell who would star Mick in his film Performance and Marianne in his Lucifer Rising.
In June of ‘68 Mick would be recording his song Sympathy For The Devil in studio while being filmed by Jean Luc Godard for his revolutionary film One+One, retitled Sympathy For The Devil. Sympathy was inspired by Satanic Russian novel titled: The Master And Margarita. The novel had been given to him to read by Marianne.
The Master And Margarita
For the promoters of The Master And Margarita the novel is an astounding mind blower. Maybe if you’re Russian and haven’t been exposed to the stunning variety of truly astonishing unending mind blowing fiction and movies of the US. The cultural scene in Russia was primitive compared to the unbroken line of development in the West where very few limitations, none actually, were placed on expression. Bulgakov has his Satanic girls running around without clothes as though that were something not routine in the West. I mean, beginning in the sixties there was a pornographic explosion. Movies were made that would have made the Marquis de Sade blush. That poor guy was egregiously defamed according to current standards. De Sade’s puerile novels were thrown into the shade. By 1972 a movie like Deep Throat was being shown in legitimate theaters to the general public. How’s that for a cultural revolution?
Before the wars we had Edgar Rice Burroughs whose female characters on both Earth and Mars ran around robust except for a few ornaments. Woo woo Bulkagov.
My god, we had the Shadow and Doc Savage and then in the thirties comic books were invented. Superman was born the same year I was in 1938 but he grew up faster and already had a job by 1948 while I was sitting in the orphanage as a kid. Superman, Batman, Capt. America came in a flood of characters that was unceasing. There were marvels presented every month that exceeded anything Bulgakov can come up with. And then…and then…William C. Gaines at EC Comics (Educational Comics, and what an education it was) came out with Tales From The Crypt with its copycats. You want to talk about mind blowing!!! There I was a ten year old kid permeated with terrific pornographic images, sadistic violence and mayhem that even I said, reading on, they shouldn’t let ten year old kids see this. I don’t know what kind of brain damage they did but I feel OK. But they did and I read every single story. Now that was mind expanding.
Of course the parents of America did catch up with Gaines forcing him to withdraw the comics. Then as if to thumb his nose at the United Parents of America he created the aptly named Mad Magazine. Boy oh boy, those were the days. Never see those again.
And then the science fiction through the fifties. My god. There was school and there was school and the best school was the sci-fi. Arthur Clarke’s Childhood’s End, John Wyndham’s Midwich Cuckoos and its two movies The Village Of The Damned and the sequel Children Of The Damned. I mean, Jack Schaefer and William Tenn. Try to top those two. The movie Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Christ! And for God’s sake the stunning James Bond movies. I could go on an on. The clearly Satanic Bus Stop TV series. Jesus Christ! All the scripts could have been written by Charlie Starkweather. All that and more. Much, much more before 1967 when M&M was published. Since then, I mean, have you seen the TV shows Dexter or Breaking Bad? Hell on wheels, guys, hell on wheels. All men to their battle stations. It’s not that M&M isn’t decent sci-fi/fantasy/horror, but that’s all it is. Doesn’t even compare with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But, then, maybe I’m over educated. Still, I think of myself as an average All American Boy.
Hey, have you seen A Giant Crab Come Forth? I have. Have you seen a single octopus tentacle demolish the city of San Francisco? I have. Have you seen the eggplant that ate Chicago…I could go on.
I don’t know how deeply or extensively the Russian author Mikhail Bugakov’s novel has penetrated the Western mind. It was certainly unknown in the sixties except to the initiated. Definitely not a best seller. I can’t remember ever hearing of it until the turn of the century when references to it as a literary marvel began popping up in my reading. In 2010 the book was published as a selection of the Folio Society of which I have been a long time member and so I acquired a copy. I have read it twice and while I recognize its purpose I am unimpressed with it as a novel.
Essentially a manual of social deconstruction the book is being heavily promoted in Communist circles. In Russia the book has been turned into a TV series, at least a couple movies and several stage plays for Western consumption.
￼In addition to the book I have acquired a three disc set of Vladimir Bercko’s film version and the TV series. The blurb on the back cover gives some idea of what the book means to its promoters:
…An imagined world where one’s consciousness actually perceives and experiences sorcery. The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, the novel on which this film is based, is a rare, mind-expanding pleasure, a journey whenever one takes and reads. The book is about the great, burning, perennial areas of the human predicament, story of the Christ, seen by Matthew, Judas and Pilate; the tale of Faust’s pact with the devil; the confrontation between individual genius and the demands of an ideologically driven State; the meaning of entertainment in society; and the love of man and woman. Bulgakov is an early precursor of the literary genre of magic realism exemplified by the South American writers Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The above seems somewhat overblown to me; about the only thing I would agree to unequivocally is that it is of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre. Its actual purpose is as a manual for disrupting society, of cultural upending; in other words, of furthering the Cultural Revolution.
After the novel was finished , in a long post-climax, this passage is inserted into the novel.
…the two blackguards marched down the asphalt path under the lindens straight to the veranda of the unsuspecting restaurant.
A pale and bored citizeness in white socks and a white beret with a nib sat on a Viennese chair at the corner entrance to the veranda, where amid the greenery of the trellis an opening for the entrance had been made. In front of her on simple kitchen table lay a fat book of the ledger variety, in which the citizeness for unknown reasons wrote down all those who entered the restaurant. It was precisely this citizeness who stopped Koroviev and Behemoth.
‘Your identification cards?’ She was gazing in amazement at Koroviev’s pince nez, and also at Behemoth’s primus and Behemoth’s torn elbow.
‘A thousand pardons, but what identification cards?’ asked Koroviev in surprise.
‘You’re writers?’ The citizeness asked in her turn.
‘Unquestionably,’ Koroviev answered with dignity.
‘My sweetie…’ Koroviev began tenderly.
‘I’m no sweetie,’ interrupted the citizeness.
‘More’s the pity,’ Koroviev said disappointedly and went on: ‘Well, so, if you don’t want to be a sweetie, which would be quite pleasant, you don’t have to be. So, then, to convince yourself that Dostoevsky was a writer, do you have to ask for his identification card? Just take any five pages from any one of novels and you’ll be convinced, without any identification card that you’re dealing with a writer? And I don’t think he even had an identification card, what do you think?’
‘…You’re not Dostoevsky,’ said the citizeness who was getting muddled by Koroviev.
‘Well, who knows, who knows,’ he replied.
‘Dostoevsky’s dead.’ Said the citizeness…
‘I protest!’ Behemoth exclaimed hotly. ‘Dostoevsky is immortal!’
‘Your identification cards, citizens,’ said the citizeness.
This passage served as a blueprint for obstructionists. Passing into common use by the late seventies Village Fucks of this variety harassed innocent clerks to distraction. As an instruction manual how then did the book fit into the continuum of the proto-Cultural Revolution from the end of WWI to the present, for there is a question of authorship found here.
The passage concerning Koroviev and Behemoth might well have been written by the Dadaists of the Café Voltaire in Zurich. Their efforts were meant to disorient European culture, knock it off center. Themselves Jewish they were followed by the establishment of the Jewish Critical Theory school in Germany. Critical Theory meant that European customs, ideas and politics were to be denigrated whether virtues or vices as though by superior beings viewing from above and apart. This led to the debunking school of the twenties in the US by which all American heroes were attacked turning their virtues into vices and vices as evidence of ghastly criminality. Eventually the Critical Theorists would leave Germany migrating to the US en masse along with the entire Freudian psycho-analytic establishment. How this must have cheered Hitler.
One then begins to see the similarities between The Master And Margarita and this Jewish continuum. The protagonist of the novel was Satan going by the name of Woland (Woe to the Land) who was a master hypnotist dealing in counterfeiting.
Woland is almost a duplicate of Fritz Lang’s Dr. Mabuse who was also a counterfeiter and a master hypnotist. He also was out to destroy European society. Lang’s first effort was the silent flick Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler of 1922 which it is possible Bulgakov might seen but the events of the Russian Civil War make that improbable. There is no chance that Bulgakov could have seen Lang’s talkie sequel of 1933 The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse in which Dr. Mabuse having been placed in an insane asylum in 1922 has hypnotized his analyst, Dr. Baum, through his writing, into carrying out his subversive schemes. While Bulgakov couldn’t have been influenced by Lang the similarities are so close one may posit a central organization directing the publication of books and movies of this sort. This becomes more evident when one looks for similarities in the US.
In the US a coordinating agency had been founded in 1906 called the American Jewish Committee, the AJC, under the direction of Jacob Schiff and Louis Marshall. Those are two names that don’t mean much outside of Jewish circles but they should. Louis Marshall’s collected correspondence is very interesting.
Now, the Great War of 1914-18 devastated Europe to be following by the greater devastation of WWII from approximately 1938 to 1945. At the same time in the Far East Japan opened hostilities that engulfed and unsettled that area beginning in the 1930s also through 1945. Hostilities continued in China through 1950 between the Communists and the Nationalists aided and abetted by massive shipments of US arms which even though granted to the Nationalists passed directly into Communist hands and then the Korean conflict began that ran through 1953.
In contrast the US and North America were not directly affected by these wars allowing permitting a unique uninterrupted culture to develop.
This period also coincided with astonishing technological advances that only the US was able to take full advantage. Thus radio became a reality beginning in the twenties although it didn’t become commercially effective until the early thirties. Perhaps even more significant was the introduction of sound to movies. The talkies made movies the most effective propaganda tool available until the emergence of television in the fifties.
As is probably not all that well known TV was commercially feasible in the late thirties but WWII postponed its introduction into homes until after the war.
Significantly the first successful talkie was the Jewish themed The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. Following that would be the series of films featuring the Marx Bros. Their movies would mesh with the Dada attack in art and the emerging Critical Theory school riding over a bed of Freudian psychology. All were direct attacks on Aryan Culture. As Joseph Goebbels told Fritz Lang when he denied a license to show The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse: No government could withstand propaganda if its kind. The truth of Goebbels statement was proven in 2008 with the US election of the Communist Barack Obama. After decades of the most vitriolic criticism and denunciation of US politics and society by the Left, all of a sudden such criticism was denied the opposition who were described as Domestic Terrorists and denied access to the media with the exception of the internet.
So, from 1930 to 1954 the Marx Bros. systematically mocked and vilified as many social institutions and Aryan mores as they could. In Germany before the wars this was called the Kultur kampf or culture wars, an early version of the Cultural Revolution. And of course the same program was carried on in films in general. Naturally it was all denied but now looking at those same films through the new spectacles provided post 9/11 it all seems clear and apparent. One sees with new eyes. Thus there are great similarities between the techniques of the Marx Bros. and The Master And Margarita.
What I consider the greatest of the Marx Bros. movies, although the Marx Bros. didn’t appear in it, was the movie of the Year One, 1966, A Funny Think Happened On The Way To The Forum starring the very Jewish Zero Mostel. The movie was the ultimate instruction manual for the demolition of society that The Master And Margarita follows very closely. Forum appeared in 1966 in the US while M&M was discovered in Russia the very same year #1. A succession of similarly themed movies followed of which the most significant perhaps was the movie Cabaret.
The question of the provenance of The Master And Margarita remains. Its similarities to the cultural trend of the previous decades is too strong to be coincidental. It is possible that in old religious terms the book could be called a pious fraud, something along the lines of The Protocols of Zion.
The provenance is certainly somewhat suspect. According to the legend that is impossible to adequately check, the novel was labored over for ten years by Bulgakov at which time he realized that Stalin would take the novel as a personal affront insuring that it would never be published while he would end up in the infamous Lubyanka Prison where in all likelihood he would receive a bullet to the base of his skull. No, better to put it in a drawer and forget about it until a better day should a better day ever come.
So who was Mikhail Bulgakov? He was apparently a novelist and a playwright. As improbable as it may seem, during the Russian civil war between the Communist Reds and the Royalist Whites after the Great War ended he was on the side of the Whites. In Revolutionary terminology white referred to the white cockade of the French royalists and not the color or their skin. Nevertheless according to legend he was a favorite of Stalin who actually favored this enemy of the State. Wouldn’t let his stuff be published but still thought him a fine fellow worth preserving. Bulgakov survived all the purges so common to the era.
Time passes, WWII, the rape of the German women, the Atom Bomb, the Korean War, the death of Stalin in 1953 while the precious manuscript sits quietly yellowing in its drawer. I might add that five hundred hand written pages fills a good sized drawer.
Beria and Khruschev follow Stalin followed in turn by Leonid Brezhnev and then this astonishing twist of fate happened. From the Orlando Figes Folio introduction:
After Bulgakov’s death in 1940, the manuscript was hidden in a drawer by Elena Sergeevna until 1966, when, by one of the most ironic twists in Russian literary history, unknown until recently, it was prepared for publication by Konstantin Simonov, one of Stalin’s henchmen in the Writers’ Union who had taken part in the persecution of many writers before the Khruschev thaw. In 1956 Simonov had been made the chairman of the commission in charge of Bulgakov’s literary estate by the writer’s widow, who was an old acquaintance of Simonov’s mother, Alexandra Ivanisheva. (nee Princess Obolenskaya). Simonov then gave the manuscript ..to his ex-wife Evgenia Laskina, who was the working at Moskva (Magazine)…
To make a long story short, Moskva was a failing magazine and as there was great doubt in Simonov’s mind as to whether it would pass the censorship of now premier Leonid Brezhnev’s stringent rule he, I guess, decided to let his ex-wife take the fall if it didn’t pass. Better her than him and a subtle revenge indeed. But, why even take the chance against apparently insuperable odds.
Well, golly, the book did get past some very stupid or traitorous censors and the rest, as they say, is history, although the time line is very tight.
Moskva published Part One in its November 1967 issue doubling its subscriber list Moscow was so bowled over, and Part Two in January 1968. Now, Marianne received a copy of the translation of the American Grove Press imprint, read it, got it to Mick who by the June recording sessions for Sympathy For The Devil had read and digested it. Not much time in there for the Russian publication, translation into English and publication and distribution by the Grove Press, shipment to England and acquisition by Marianne. I mean, what was the big rush for something that might not sell? Therefore I believe something else must have been uppermost in certain minds. As I said earlier this book reeks of a fraud or forgery. Its happened before. The Donation Of Constantine as an egregious example.
The 1997 Hollywood movie Wag The Dog demonstrated exactly how it is done. In Wag The Dog the President of the US asks a Hollywood producer to stage a phony war to shore up his flagging popularity. The producer does this but as Shakespeare wrote: What a tangled web we weave when first we deceive. As the variables unfold in unforeseen manner the producer’s ingenuity is strained but equal to the task. He creates a war hero who while on the way to the ceremony dies. Consequently he manufacturers a sentimental story about Schumacher, the dead would be hero, who they dub Old Shoe.
The producer contacts a couple songwriters, explains his needs and they come up with an old timey 20s-30s type country cum folk ditty. The performance is doctored to sound like a scratchy old 78RPM.
Now, here’s the key point. It is arranged to place a copy of this forgery in the appropriate thirties archive location in The Library Of Congress. Miracle of miracles the forgery is ‘discovered’ becoming a hit generating a worshipful attitude for ‘Old Shoe.’ Old Shoe is buried in Arlington Cemetery, full military honors and mission accomplished.
There you have it- that was a forgery no different than, say, The Donation of Constantine or The Protocols of Zion.
The question then is why did The Master And Margarita surface in Year One in 1966 in time for the Cultural Revolution already begun actually but not announced by Mao until 1968, Year Three.
Quite simply it was necessary to place an instruction manual into the hands of certain key people and agitators. The passage I quoted at the beginning of this chapter is an example of a lesson. Mick received his copy through Marianne and understood. How then did this unknown Russian novel immediately find its way into Marianne’s hands upon publication of the English translation of Grove Press?
I mean, how did the Jewish translator, Mirra Ginsburg, receive a copy immediately after the Russian book publication. I imagine she didn’t. The window of opportunity between January 1968 and end of May 1968 is too narrow. She must have been involved either immediately after the Moskva publication of Part One or possibly even before. Therefore that indicates a plan by somebody.
We know for a fact that the novel as published was not as written by Bulgakov. We are told that several hands altered the text including various censors. A full sixty pages were deleted in Mirra Ginsburg’s translation to be restored thirty years later…to reflect what?
There is plenty of reason then to believe the book was a put up job or, indeed, intended as a disguised instruction manual for easier distribution to interested parties…like Mick.
Mick when he received his copy immediately began to write or conceive the lyrics for Sympathy For The Devil. Satan the key figure in the novel is a master magician and hypnotist. He hypnotizes virtually the entire city of Moscow. As a refresher on continuity lets remember that Dr. Sigmund Freud was a master hypnotist seeking the destruction of European civilization and so was Lang’s Dr. Mabuse who was based on Freud.
We know that Bulgakov couldn’t have been aware of Lang’s Mabuse and I doubt that Bulgakov was much of a Freudian so that leaves forgery as the most probable explanation. As a point of fact the AJC, American Jewish Committee, has employed a stable of writers in the US since at least the thirties to churn out plausibly academic diatribes condemning those they consider anti-Semites. The AJC was global in scope having been active in European politics from its beginning so it would be easy enough to concoct The Master And Margarita either in toto or possibly a revision and claim to have discovered it in a drawer in 1966 The Year One by one Simon-ov in much the same manner that the fictional ‘Old Shoe’ was discovered in the Library Of Congress.
In an interview Mick said that the Master and Margarita influenced the writing of Sympathy For The Devil. In the furtherance of the Cultural Revolution Jean Luc Godard of the French Nouvelle Vague school of film makers made his revolutionary movie One+One, reissued as Sympathy For The Devil filming the Stones recording the song. So the Stones are placed in the heart of The Cultural Revolution.
Mick was fully aware of hypnosis as, actually, were a very great many of the rockers, so that he and Keith set the piece to a Samba rhythm. As Mick said in the interview the Samba is a very hypnotic rhythm. Thus, by creating a hypnotic mode everyone would receive the lyrics as suggestion. The suggestion being that the devil is a good fellow and one should have sympathy for him discarding one’s prejudices. There was actually a strong effort to rehabilitate Satan in the years following Year One. It will be remembered that both Mick and Marianne were tight with the Satanist Kenneth Anger who had a huge LUCIFER tattooed across his chest. Marianne would later perform in Anger’s Lucifer Rising while Mick performed a soundtrack for another of Anger’s offerings.
Mick beginning shortly after Year Three would turn his act into performance art of a highly suggestive nature accompanied by an intentional hypnotic beat with stun gun volume, flashing lights and the stimulated hysteria of the crowd reaction. A proper atmosphere for hypnotic suggestion.
Mick’s vengeance for the drug bust then was to play the Pied Piper to lead the ‘kids’ to their destruction.
Marianne would be a casualty of his mania as she sank into the deepest of depression.
Chapter 7 follows.
December 15, 2012
Marianne Faithfull: The Faerie Queene Of The Sixties
Chaps. 3, 4,5
Of all the performers of the Rock era Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney have been the most successful while I would give the nod of most successful to Jagger. One must admire the way he learned the ropes and then used them to strangle others as he had been strangled. Mick in his own way was the Midnight Rambler and the Street Fighting Man. Don’t think I blame him; you either rule or are ruled. But, one does have to live with the reputation one creates.
Mick began cultivating his image from the beginning. As this story concerns Mick’s relationship to Marianne I will concentrate on aspects of their sexuality. Andrew Loog Oldham made a movie of the Stones’ January 1905 Irish tour. Unfortunately he sold the rights to it along with the Stones 1963-70 master recordings to Allen Klein along with, by the way, the first Marianne Faithfull masters. Klein then became the Stones’ manager.
The movie di8sappeared into Klein’s archives to surface in November 2012 when the Klein estate released it to DVD. It can now be purchased as I did. The DVD features both the Abkco edit and Oldham’s original Director’s Cut.
Mainly a concert film it also features group member interviews and Richards and Jagger cutting up. While they were horsing around they appear to improvise a song with the lyric: I’d rather be with the boys than here with a stupid girl like you.
While Jagger has always cultivated an ambiguous image he has also announced a record of having had sex with four thousand or more different girls. That’s only eighty per annum over fifty years so I imagine that shows an admirable restraint. Yet, at the same time Mick has always been misogynistic while always seeking to emasculate or squash his closer women under his thumb. In fact Mick probably has a domination or emasculation complex. He may have rather been with the boys but in his competition with them he sought to emasculate or squash them too. One of favorite forms of emasculation and domination is to take other men’s women from them.
Thus when he took Jerry Hall from Bryan Ferry he quipped he had to do it to save her from going through life as Jerry Ferry. One winces when one reads of Eric Clapton begging Mick not to take Carla Bruni from him. Mick even took one of Eric’s temps, Catherine James from him.
Mick And Chrissie
When Mick first enters the scene for Andrew Oldham he is in an alley fighting it out with Chrissie Shrimpton, the mode. Jean Shrimpton’s younger sister. If one reads more deeply into that situation it shows a very cruel sadistic streak in Mick, quite shameful in a celebrity of Mick’s first magnitude of brightness.
Chrissie began the relationship as a strong willed girl battered by and battering Mick. In that day before the change in sexual mores girls weren’t quite so sexually open so Chrissie didn’t want her parents to know she was shacking up with Mick. They insisted to Mick that they not. As a humiliation tactic to break the girl down he let it be known to her parents that in his eyes she was little more than a common whore and she and they should see it that way too as he was in fact shacking with her.
Gradually the monster beat her down completely destroying her self-respect then, more than publicly, he broadcast his triumph on records and over the radio with such songs as Stupid Girl and Under My Thumb while their whole circle knew referred to her. Dylan would later use the same tactic against Edie Sedgwick when he wrote Like A Rolling Stone to break her down.
Both Chrissie and her parents believed Mick and she were to marry but laving crushed her beneath his thumb, as it were, with a toss of his curly locks Mick sneeringly walked away adding insult to injury. Cruel in this instance it became psychotic with repeated use.
Years after world got back to Mick that Chrissie had a bundle of his letters, and, now this is unforgivable, without a word to her he immediately set his attorneys on her threatening an expensive law suit while demanding she return his letters. Even though Chrissie had not intended to publish them, still shaking this long after Mick’s brutal treatment, Chrissie without delay forwarded her letters from Mick to him. Shameful.
Mick And Marianne
Mick then turned his attentions to the Guinevere, the Ophelia, the Faerie Queene of pop music, our Marianne. While I’m sure Mick was somewhat enamored with Marianne I’m also sure he had a couple ulterior motives. Marianne was married to John Dunbar at the time while living with Mick so Mick had the pleasure of emasculating and humiliating Dunbar.
At the same time I’m sure he was envious of Marianne’s fame which was probably greater than his at the time. No room in the spotlight for two. He couldn’t stand that Marianne was getting even more press than himself. Thus he undertook to destroy her career. In the process he emasculated her and humiliated her to an astounding degree.
Marianne and Mick were playing with psychologies in a very destructive manner. The events I am going to describe did incalculable damage to their psyches while altering the direction of their subsequent lives dramatically, especially Marianne’s. Of course, few people seem to realize they have a psychology or how it was formed, what expectations they devised. Those hopes and dreams were more especially dashed when they turned to drugs. That was certainly the case with Marianne.
I don’t know how seriously Marianne took here Medieval interest and reading but she was influenced by her Arthurian studies. Like the most or possibly rest of the generation she was also influenced quite heavily by Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan, probably both books and movies.
The key for the generation in Peter Pan was his refusal to grow up or accept adulthood. It was quite fashionable at the time to pretend that you would always be young, keep in contact with your ‘inner child.’ I was a victim of the psychosis myself.
At any ratge Marianne was influenced by all three. Thus, when she and Mick met she quizzed him extensively on his knowledge of King Arthur to see how much he knew as though that litmus test would seal his fate. Mick passed and Marianne moved in still married to John Dunbar. Thus her life clashed with her Catholic upbringing. At first Marianne had royalties coming in from her records enabling her to maintain a certain independence but gradually the royalty checks decreased making Marianne financially dependent on Mick.
At the same time Mick was under no obligations to Marianne and observed none. How this clashed with Marianne’s Arthurian expectations in an atmosphere of Peter Pan and Alice she doesn’t go into but there must have been a severe disappointment as Mick treated her as a mere possession.
While in California he was the object of desire for all the groupies including the doyenne Miss Pamela- Pamela Des Barres nee Miller- of Frank Zappa’s girl group the GTOs (Girls Totally Ornery or else in reference to the hottest car of the period, the GTO). Miss Pamela as well as the rest of the California groupies studied to come up with better and better more outrageous sexual thrills with which to astonish the boys in the band which easily surpassed the imaginations of the boys in the band including Mick.
Mick returned home and demanded of Marianne that she perform these tricks which astonished Marianne no less than Mick had been astonished. However she believed the tricks degrading. Marianne quite rightly refused to perform them.
But the repertoire of the boys in the band kept expanding so that the home girls were led to view new horizons. Group sex and that sort of thing became the norm.
As with all loosely knit movements or phenomena this sort of reputation brought more and more of the sado-masochistic libertine drug oriented element gradually forcing out the less inclined to sexual erotica just as bad money drives out good money. Rock and Roll became progressively more degenerate from 1964-65 on until it was disgraceful to be associated with it.
Mick and the Stones were leaders of this degeneration whether the Stones embraced sexual sado-masochism personally their public persona was based on it making them leading corruptors of youth and society in general. They did as much or more to change the sexual mores of the present than anyone. Their LP cover for Black and Blue was the apex of this very sado-masochistic misogynistic persona. The cover caused me all kinds of trouble in running my record store.
As one presents oneself so must one be.
The Redlands Bust.
Many psychologically devastating events happened to Marianne in the years from 1967-70. It is very difficult from this perspective to evaluate some of them. One can’t tell how Marianne’s renunciation of her career affected her mind. After all in 1964-65 and 66 she went from just another teenager to superb success far beyond her expectations financially, while becoming the female idol of the England and a phenom in the US- ultimately the Faerie Queen of rock and roll. That’s really only two short years until the Redlands bust.
In those two years she passed through several sexual transmogrifications. She went from virgin to the most outre of sexual practices. Its all very well to say that this was her decision but as Paul McCartney said of his own experience in Miles’ biography it was impossible for him to resist peer pressure, especially in the use of drugs. He was ‘forced’ to try heroin even though he was dead set against.
So peer pressure on Marianne and any young girl to be sexual ‘free spirits’ was impossible unless you were prepared to accept group rejection. The same with drugs that couldn’t be resisted so that when depression set in she ended up addicted to the greatest depression drug available- heroin. It was up to Mick to give what protection he could. Regardless of current sexual nonsense it us up to the man to guide his woman.
Now, the era began in relatively clean-cut innocence . It was never quite so white bread as it is depicted, trying to escape the sleaziness, even then, was no easy matter. Then as the decade wore on it all got worse, then it got disgusting. First pot, pills and amphetamines, then LSD that came on like a hurricane. LSD more than anything else conditioned you for cocaine that in at the end of the decade, at least on the West Coast where I was. Remember that was no national consensus in the US
In 1964 or so when the ‘counter-culture’ hit in the Bay Area it was a very local manifestation not shared by the East Coast the Mid-West or even for that matter LA. LA was never hip in the way the Bay Area was. While the Beatles are credited with introducing long hair, when the Charlatans came down from Virginia City they had hair and they must have been growing it long before the Mop Tops showed up.
The West Coast could not tolerate New York groups. Mafia outfits like the Rascals nee Young Rascals and Vanilla Fudge made the West Coast puke. There really wasn’t any place for The Velvet Underground either. Of course the British groups that had their own sound that really couldn’t compete with that of say, The Doors, an LA group. The LA groups being more commercially oriented pretty much shoved the Bay Area groups aside, although were a couple of real successes. I don’t include freak groups like the Grateful Dead commercial successes. Cults are cults.
But to the point, boy, LSD. Owsley Stanley kept the West supplied and how. By the time of Altamont and Stonewall the atmosphere was really foul. And then it got worse still.
About the time of the Redlands bust society and the police were losing their patience. Kesey and Leary had them terrified. The drug thing kept growing. When one says that marijuana was generational it is true only to the extent that a significant minority of the generation smoked it. The hippies were only a small and despised part of the generation but they, we, made a lot of noise and got a lot of notice. Without the radio, rock and corrupt record companies the Movement probably wouldn’t have broken the bounds of Bohemia. But, the time was ripe for the Bohemian conquest of America. That was led from New York, principally by Andy Warhol.j
The records made the Bohemian life seem very glamorous. Thus the cops focused on groups where actually the greatest drug activity was located and the propaganda the strongest. As the groups began to make good and even big, very big, money they were the natural prey of the drug dealers. And don’t underestimate the role of LSD. The groups also chose to flaunt their drug use- ‘I’ve got to be free to put anything into my body and life I want to’, disdaining the law, the police and actually common decency. This was the case with the Stones and it’s the flaunting, not the use, that got them in trouble.
In 1967 they naturally were set up. Brian Jones in an interview, barroom chat actually, with News Of The World reporters boasted of his drug use. The journalists then attributed the statements to Mick, whether from ignorance or design I leave to your imagination.
When Mick read the article he was indignant. As I said, while Mick and the rockers thought they were big because of records, radio and TV they were actually socially marginal and not particularly appreciated. Musicians get no respect outside their own circle.
Rather than evaluate his situation, considered that he was doing drugs and everyone knew it thus making him an obvious target, he foolishly brought suit against the newspaper. You don’t have to be brilliant to know News Of The World wasn’t going to let that one fly. Hey! Hey! What’d I say! Mick was sleeping or dreaming.
The police wanted to get England’s bad boys anyway. There may or may not have been collusion between the News Of The World and the police but the way the raid was conducted indicates there was.
Shortly before the bust some guy named Schneiderman drops from the sky with a barief case reportedly filled withy whatever you required. Mick, Marianne and Keith and a couple others, I will mention in the next section, were having an LSD weekend at Keith’s house, the Redlands. Schneiderman insinuated himself into the party with his briefcase while probably being in the employ of the News informed them and they in turn notified the police.
For Schneiderman allegedly having a briefcase full of drugs there were remarkably few drugs in evidence at the bust. Jagger was booked only for possession of four pep pills bought legally in Italy, while Keith had no drug charges at all except for being charged with ‘knowingly’ providing a place where pot was smoked. Robert Fraser actually had heroin jacks of his own on him but Schneiderman produced nothing from his briefcase and indeed no drugs were visible in it when the police required him to open it. No drugs were seen only packaging that were assumed to contain drugs by the Bohemians. In any event he hopped the first flight to elsewhere.
While Marianne had no drugs concealed on her person her situation was the most tragic of all. The Faerie Queen would lose her official status.
When the cops came calling the crowd was of course flipped out on LSD but then that was always the danger; the cops would come calling when you’re least prepared to deal with them. Come on, this was just one of the hazards of using illegal substances. And naturally, you tend to be flippant, wise cracking and mocking. Very bad behavior in such a situation when maximum seriousness is the order of the moment. It’s not like everyone didn’t live in fear of being busted. They used to call it deep paranoia.
Marianne whose clothes had become wet from walking in the rain laid them out to dry dressing in nothing more than some sort of rug wrapped around her. Well, what is one to think of a nude woman amongst a bunch of men; what is this Dejeuner Sur L’herbe redux? Even if two thirds of them were screaming fairies as they were, how is one to know that and what to think?
It was said that Marianne let her wrap slip giving the coppers an eyeful. Of course the cops were square and the gang was hip but squares outnumber hips by a very large margin while as Roger Miller sings: Squares make the world go round. And a good thing too. Roger said that hips have too much water for their land; this was a gathering of pretty watery people. Oh, OK, my people, but folks you have to be realistic. That’s what hip means in my book.
And then someone probably at News Of The World concocted the story that Marianne had a Mars bar slipped between her legs and that Mick was grazing away at it. Preposterous, wouldn’t you think? Boy, now that was a blow that will getcha and you’ll be down for a long time too. As might be expected Marianne was devastated. Boy, that opened a lot of anfractuosities in her brain. A hit like two trains running in opposite directions at top speed on the same tracks over a two hundred foot high trestle. That’s a big crash and a long way to tumble, buddy.
It ended any hope Marianne may have had of appearing on a stage. Can you imagine stepping up to the microphone and being showered with Mars bars. Oh no, no,no, better to board a rocket ship for…oops…Mars.
Marianne and Mick may have thought they were handling it well but the bile and psycho-somatic reactions entering the sub-conscious aren’t so easily dismissed. This horror was merely added to their childhood fixations.
In the turmoil of the months succeeding this mind wrenching event fixations would only worsen. Of course the intent of the establishment was not so much to succeed in jailing them but making an example of them while hopefully destroying their careers. The bust should have been career destroying but for the generational gap. When a teacher chastises a student the other students smirk but don’t disown him. After busting Mick and Keith the establishment then went after the more fragile Brian Jones, the guy who got this whole thing rolling by shooting off his mouth. If the three could have been jailed they wouldn’t subsequently have been allowed to enter the US or so it seemed. No one could have forecast the incredible changes that were about to occur that essentially placed the Stones above the law.
Enter Donald Cammell And His Movie Performance
One reads many amusing reasons for the incredible social disintegration of the sixties. One of the most preposterous to come to my attention is the notion that it was caused by lead poisoning.. There’s a hobby horse for you. While I couldn’t rule it out I think lead poisoning would be among the most obscure of reasons. No, the sixties was no more an aberration than was Hitler’s Germany; like the latter it was the result of long historical development, a part of psychological history.
If one reads a good deal with the purpose of understanding the historical background of the sixties things begin to take form. Then if one tries to make one’s intellect rise and float over the information gleaned from that reading patterns will form, a map of the past will appear. Then of course one notes nodes and axons, connections that require further reading and rereading what’s already been read so that a fair approximation of what happened can be more or less confidently stated. Much of it will be subterranean history that doesn’t make it to the history books.
Such is the psycho-sexual mind set that began to develop oh, say, about from 1890 on which a key node from 1900 to 1920. Western understanding of the human mind developed fairly rapidly from the mid-eighteenth century rapidly gaining momentum after say 1860 and the spectacular doing at Paris’ Salpetriere mental hospital under the tutelage of the amazing Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot.
While his investigations were of a psycho-sexual nature they were not perceived as such except perhaps by a transient student by the name of Sigmund Freud. Sometime after Charcot’s studies toward the nineties people calling themselves sexologists, sex therapists and sex magicians began to appear.
Along with Freud who might be called a sex therapist two leading figures slightly earlier than he were the German Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) and the Englishman Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). In the academic scientific or pseudo-scientific manner all three made their contributions although Freud managed to incorporate their discoveries or understandings into his system acquiring preeminence in the field.
Goerg Groddeck and Wilhelm Reich, two of Freud’s disciples also gained prominence in the sex therapist field.
On the religious or supernatural side the most prominent and influential of the sex magicians was the so-called Magus Aleister Crowley and his organization of the Golden Dawn.
With the exception of Krafft-Ebing all were out to overturn European sexual mores, designated disparagingly as Victorian. Of course there was never a time when men and women didn’t behave sexually because…well, how could they? The real goal then was to disturb prevailing sexual mores and replace them with sexual license. This essentially came to fruition in the 1960s when the influence of Freud and Crowley were at their peak. The two principal cultural nodes of the US, New York and Los Angeles, were flooded with European Jewish émigrés of the Freudian school while Aleister Crowley had established himself and his Golden Dawn in Los Angeles.
The corrosive sexual mores of Freud and Crowley were aided and abetted by the rise of the equally corrosive drug use and, of course, ‘lead poisoning.’
Our next object then is to discover who Donald Cammel might be.
Searching For Donald
Cammell is the central figure in this little drama so we will begin with him although even though the Stones biographers don’t delve into these other characters they are integral to the social scene of Mick, Marianne and Keith. It appears that Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts served a peripherals to Mick primarily and Mick and Keith secondarily. Oldham tried to make himself a third but apparently was incompatible or other interests pulled him in a different direction. By ‘67 he would be out of the picture.
In Marianne’s biography she makes it sound like Cammell was a stranger to the group while actually he was well known to Bob Fraser, and Chrissie Gibbs who were at the Redlands bust and quite familiar with Mick, Keith and Marianne. They all knew each other before the movie began to be filmed.
Cammell was older than the three being contemporary with the first generations of rockers; he was born in 1934 in Scotland. He came from a well to do family immersed in the occult; his father actually knew Aleister Crowley and wrote a biography of him. One may then assume that his father was something of a sex magician as Marianne’s father was a sexologist. It was impossible to escape Freudian influences from at least 1920 through the fifties. So some reference to repression and the unconscious is inevitable.
Cammell’s father was likely familiar with Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis with its emphasis on psychotic sexual practices. All the sexologists and magician immersed themselves in bizarre sexual practices. If a reader counters that all sex is legitimate it shows how perverted he or she is. No argument from me, we know where each other stands.
As Cammell was born in ‘34, in ‘44 he would have been 10 and 20 in 1954. Thus he would have been aware of the war between the ages of 4, 5, 6, or so and 10 but perhaps in a muddled and uncomprehending manner but in ‘44 and ‘45 he would have been aware enough to partially comprehend. Certainly when the Big Baby turned Hiroshima to ashes in August of ‘45 something would have registered affecting his mind and outlook.
I was 7 in ‘45 and while I have a clear remembrance of VE Day I don’t have any recollection at all of the Bomb or if I do it had little or no significance to me. I have never had a horror of the A-bomb.
Obviously something other than lead poisoning affected the psyches of the crop of kids from ‘33-’34 to 1942-43. It may have had something to do with the total destruction of the world capped by the Bomb. What a terrific exclamation mark to the end of hostilities. What Cammell’s reaction to this destruction was isn’t clear to me while it probably wasn’t clear to himself.
After the war he experienced rationing during the whole of his teen years. He was probably less affected than others as he became prosperous in his teens on his own as a painter. He was successful as a portrait painter. From the pictures I’ve seen he was more than talented while possibly possessing genius. His mind already exhibited an extreme darkness with sexual confusion easily perceived.
Much of the following information comes from web sites such as the fabulous Another Nickel In The Machine that records the history of London, Sam Umland’s 60X50 and many others. I have not read Umland’s biography of Cammell as yet.
Cammell divorced his first wife and then married a very successful model, the American Deborah Dixon, moving to Paris where they both lived. Cammell apparently was supported by his wife.
Bored with painting, not unlike Andy Warhol, he began to take an interest in film. There is nothing like a movie to exhibit one’s sexual fantasies in real life; indeed a movie is a record of the unconscious. Cammell and Dixon were sexually compatible taking an interest in anything remotely copulatory. Cammell’s first few attempts at filmmaking were not successful or, at least, lacked box office magic.
Along with his lack of interest in painting and his attraction to the movies Cammell gravitated toward the pop world of rock and roll seeking out Jagger. Where was a sexual degenerate to turn? The bad boys of Rock, the Rolling Stones, Mick, Keith and Marianne at least. He found Mick and Marianne’s talked about sexual escapades irresistible. He was undoubtedly attracted by Mick’s dope legend also. Mick claims not to have been an excessive user of drugs, which may be true but I doubt there was anyone at the time who didn’t think he was a heroin addict and druggie par excellence.
As an artist Cammell was acquainted with Bob Fraser and that pop art crowd. Both he and Fraser were known to the infamous crime lords, the Kray Brothers. The Krays, of course, were homosexuals as was Fraser and Gibbs. Mick’s legend is that he is bi-sexual, at least, so there is no reason that he wasn’t sexually involved with the bunch in some manner.
Cammell and Fraser also knew the Satanist and sex magician, The American experimental film maker, Kenneth Anger, as did Mick and Marianne. Fraser introduced Anger to the underground film crowd.
In addition Anita Pallenberg knew Cammell from her pre-Brian Jones, Keith Richard days. She was shown the script in the south of France the year before filming began. So, unless I have seriously misread Marianne’s first auto-biography, Cammell didn’t just show up one day with a movie proposal; it was actually old home week.
Cammell did go on to make an additional three or four movies of which I have seen two, Demon Seed and Wild Side. The last movie has escaped my vigilance so far. Wild Side is a virtual remake or variation of Performance. Demon Seed that I will review in an addendum to Chapter 5 is actually a great movie handling a major sci-fi them to perfection.
Just prior to the beginning of filming in 1968 Mick impregnated Marianne. This is 1968 and if Marianne hadn’t been on the Pill she would have had a number of children now in addition to Nicholas her child by John Dunbar. The question then is why she allowed herself to get pregnant at this time. He was still married to Dunbar so one must think he must have suffered humiliation and emasculation to have another man impregnate his wife. Perhaps Mick’s emasculation genes or maybe just a drug haze.
At any rate Marianne was exiled to Ireland while filming was going on. One can only imagine the anxiety she felt separated from her lover in her condition. One doesn’t have to imagine; she suffered a miscarriage.
In 1967 the English director John Boorman had filmed a movie that took
Cammell’s mind by storm. The movie was Point Blank starring Lee Marvin as the protagonist Walker. Cammell recommended that all the cast see the move and bear it in mind. It might be advantageous to review the movie here.
Point Blank was only Boorman’s second effort. Unsuccessful on release it has apparently become a cult classic. His movie is obviously a dream sequence or nightmare. Nothing is real. This indicated by the hero’s name of Walker. He has only one name, no first. No one even knows what his first name could be. The name seemed significant to me but I hadn’t a clue as to what it could mean. Well, you know, when the student is ready the teacher will appear. While writing this piece I was also reading Denis Machail’s 1941 biography of J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. There on page 190 was the explanation of Walker. Barrie had written a play titled Walker, London. That was a telegraphic address.
Two impudent jokes in one the second even more mysterious then as it is now. For the word ‘Walker’ is still in the dictionary- “interjection (slang) expressing incredulity and suspicion of being hoaxed” but when was it last used? Not during the present century, one would say; net before that there was a time when it was the very crystalization of Cockney humor. “Walker!” you said, to show that you could never be caught with chaff. It was the standard answer to the attempted leg pull. It was also one of those blessed with with which any comedian could bring down the house.
So now the viewer knows he is being hoaxed and suspend belief. The plot involves Lee Marvin as Walker who takes part in a heist then is shot by partner who runs off with Walker’s share or 93,000 and adding insult to injury Walker’s wife. The rest of the story involves Walker trying to retrieve his money forget the wife. The story is told through a series of frustrations to a paranoid Walker. So, we have a dream study of a frustrated paranoid.
The opening and closing settings are the same. The walking or exercise area inside Alcatraz prison. The joke seemingly being that one walks around and around, never getting anywhere while returning to the same place. Cry “Walker” and then start laughing like a Cockney at the joke.
Alcatraz, the Rock, is of course a small island in the middle of San Francisco Bay between the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge. Established in 1934 it was closed in 1963, so the filming was done in a closed facility and before the Indians occupied the island claiming it as their heritage. The filming was done, then, in vacated premises.
As a dream story it concerns the psychic life of Walker. It’s all going on inside his head. The prison, castle or house represents the psychic the self so that Walker lives a bleak, barren, paranoid inner life.
A helicopter lands in the enclosure, picks up a package and leaves a bundle of money. Walker and his pal Mall (mal, French for bad) kill the messenger while robbing him. Walker is then examining an empty cell signifying his empty life when Mal with Walker’s wife looking on puts a couple bullets in him leaving him for dead while appropriating Walker’s share of the money and his wife. Thus we have some basic paranoia that, of course, might possibly be true. As his wife would say later, Walker just kind of left her cold.
Left for dead Walker somehow recovers while being compelled to take the only way off the island available to him- swim for it. Another grim joke as legend has it that no one who tried ever succeeded.
The rest of the story concerns surmounting treachery and double crosses Walker encounters in trying to recover his money. He finds his wife, abandons her and takes up with her sister. While he seems a little obsessive-compulsive in the matter, the money in fact represents his lost identity, purpose in life or masculinity. The recovery of the money is central to his personality.
As in the Cockney joke whenever he shows up people exclaim “Walker!” If you’re in on the joke it might be funny. Angie Dickenson makes up the sex interest as Chris as there is no love interest. Just a four letter word in this movie. The three kingpins Walker must knock down are Carter, Brewster and Fairfax. Ironically Carter and Brewster are disposed of by their own team when Walker’s paranoia protects him while the others take the hit meant for him.
The actual climax takes place in Brewster’s house when Walker and Chris have spent the night together, the only consummated sex in the movie. As Walker is walking out the door Chris asks what her last name is. Walker doesn’t know and neither do we. Walker counters, seemingly weakly, does she know his first name. Either check mate or an uproarious joke to Cockneys. But as Walker in joke is a hoax or a put on then it doesn’t matter anyway. Dreams are like that, they follow a different logic than the waking mind.
The denouement returns to the opening at Alcatraz but now Walker is more canny staying out if sight. The drop is made, Brewster calls to him to come get the money. But, as when Walker was supposed to get the money from Carter, after he survived the assassination attempt, the bundle proved to be waste paper, Walker’s paranoia saves him again. A shot rings out and Brewster takes a long off a short pier never to return again. Now enter Fairfax who is the head man and the assassin who shot Carter and Brewster and would have shot Walker. Fairfax shouts Walker several times that in another century would have brought the house down.
Walker’s paranoia prevents him form taking what might be money in the bundle but is probably waste paper so that as the bundle of funny paper represents his ego he is left stranded in the haunted empty house of Alcatraz representing his mind for one presumes the rest of his life.
The movie was a box office failure, except for the few like Cammell but holds up well as a psychological thriller. That is what Cammell saw. So, now, he’s basing his own movie ‘Performance’ directly on Point Blank.
He gathers together essentially the ‘gang’ to make his movie. Even Deborah Dixon took part. He already knew and was friends with James Fox as was apparently Mick, cast as the criminal Chas. Cammell had known Anita Pallenberg in Paris where it is said she formed a brief menage a trois with Cammel and Deborah. Chrissie Gibbs was the set designer…Mick was an old friend, a few outsiders and he had his movie.
Mick sent Marianne to Ireland for the duration. Keith who was shacking with Anita was so unhappy about Cammell’s pairing of Anita with Mick that he found it impossible to visit the set. Instead he brooded outside in his car sending Bob Fraser in to keep tabs until Cammell banned him from the set.
I can’t be sure that Cammell understood the Cockney meaning of Walker but he so admired the character that he based Mick’s role on Walker giving Mick the single name of Turner. No first. Turner is also meant to be significant. A turner is a sort of acrobat. The word could also be used in the sense of changeling, or perhaps in the homosexual sense or turning a man gay. Turner does turn Chas. from a tough guy to a passive fairy, his sort of changeling. Turner changes the tough hoods into faggots. Probably then that is the meaning of the name. So maybe Cammell was in on the Walker joke.
As the movie is permeated by sex magic and sex as a sort of therapy the influence of Krafft-Ebing, Ellis, Freud and especially Aleister Crowley is very apparent. Kenneth Anger was around at the time while being known to all the participants thus reinforcing the Crowley connection.
All the sex therapists were concerned with aberrant sexual practices that the movie concentrates on. Cammell elaborates the sexual implications of Boorman’s Point Blank, while the decaying mansion obviously represent Cammell’s mind. In the end the sex therapy or magick doesn’t seem to work as Turner turns suicidal obsessed with a death wish.
Boorman’s crime angle comes in through Chas. In order for Fox to appear authentic Cammell actually required him to live the criminal life under the tutelage of a mobster, even to the extent of taking part in actual crimes. Of course, madness is theme of the movie but even madness can go too far.
Chas. has offended the criminal chief, based on the Kray Bros., who has commanded a man hunt to track Chas. down. When he is located he is summoned to his execution. Turner says: Don’t leave me, take me where you’re going. Chas. says ‘You don’t want to go where I’m going. Turner: Yes I do. Chas. then blows Turner’s head off, gets into the car and the car drives off as he looks out the window we see Turners face. Thus the turning or change is complete as each becomes the other.
The version now available for purchase or rental is apparently much different from the original. While even the available version is violent and pornographic the original must have anticipated the current pornographic output of Hollywood . While I wouldn’t call Performance tame almost every movie you see today is as or more explicit. At any rate the movie has no redeeming moral value. If you want porn plain and simple, there it is.
The legend has it that the movie changed the lives of the participants. Perhaps so, but perhaps not. Michele Breton was already a lost child and stayed lost. Anita, no stranger to drugs moved into intense familiarity. James Fox, who was criminally mistreated by Cammell, gave up movies for ten years but he says he was already fed up with the seedy side of movie making so perhaps Performance just capped it. Keith, god, what can you say? Who was going to keep him from drugs? If cammell was already inclined toward suicide he topped himself off in 1996 finally taking Keith’s advice.
But, now, Mick and Marianne. Mick was advised to play himself but Marianne wisely overruled that advice perhaps saving Mick’s sanity but still leaving him off balance. Marianne advised him to adopt some of the fey characteristics of Brian Jones character along with some of Keith’s tough stance. Not too difficult as that is the Mick already appeared but it permanently shifted his personality in that skew. Nevertheless Mick has always remained supremely functional.
As to Marianne, how did she relate to Mick’s rejection of her by sending her to Ireland and the subsequent miscarriage of her child. That is a lot of psychological battering. I think that it is certain that as 1968 progressed she was already in a depression and sinking rapidly. While she was able to hold on for another year or so, by 1969 she would be spinning out of control as further events tested the strength of her mind.
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#16 TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD MEN
This Silent River Of Mystery And Death
In our hour of darkness,
In our hour of need…
Leopard Men is an exceptionally dark novel. There is nothing about it that isn’t horrific, a sort of Gotterdamerung. There are probably more people killed in this novel than any other of Burroughs’. The threat of rape hangs heavy in the air. Old Timer/Burroughs is going through more major changes trying to burst his chrysalis.
Through it all runs the thread of religion; and not just one religion but three religious systems. There is the animistic religion of the Africans; a Semitic style religion of the Leopard Men and an esoteric interpretation concealed in a gorgeous wealth of symbolism. I will consider the last in Part B.
ERB’s life was reaching a crisis, he had the MGM contract to worry about, his ongoing war with the Reds and now his sexual crisis that had been roiling beneath the surface for nearly fifty years and was about to bubble over. Hence the novel is filled with murky, rasty sexual symbolism welling up from the subconscious disguised as religion.
For supposedly being an escapist writer without either serious purpose or intellectual content when one parses out any of his stories one is amazed that such serious purpose can be successfully disguised as escapist. ERB shares this ability with Homer of the Iliad. Since no one seems to have penetrated beyhond the surface glitter from one hundred years ago to this day I hope I will be pardoned for making the attempt.
ERB’s style of plotting is so diffuse that it is very difficult to grasp the focal point which unites the various strands of his story. In some incredible way he has half a dozen stories running concurrently each with a different point and different conclusion. One has to follow the bouncing ball. In Jewels Of Opar the uniting theme is the story of what happens to the Jewels. In Ant Men one has to follow the trajectory of Tarzan’s locket. In this one the key is Kali Bwana. ERB seems to favor this linking approach.
Leopard Men has two main stories, that of Old Timer and Kali Bwana with its subplots as well as the story of Tarzan And The Leopard Men. As the story opens Tarzan is in Leopard Men territory far from home. One wonders what Tarzan is doing in this country? Naturally Burroughs presents his information on a need to know basis. We apparently don’t need to know until p. 108 when after Tarzan regains his memory from yet another crushing blow to the skull we are told:
During the long day Tarzan’s mind was occupied with many thoughts. He had recalled now why he had come into this country, and he marveled at the coincidence of later events that guided his footsteps along the very paths he had intended on trodding before accident had robbed him of the memory of his purpose. He knew now that depredations by Leopard Men from a far country had caused him to set forth upon a lonely reconnaissance with only the thought of locating their more or less fabled stronghold and temple. That he should be successful in both finding these and reducing one of them was gratifying in the extreme, and he felt thankful now for the accident that had been responsible for those results.
Thus as Tarzan regains his memory he discovers that he had destroyed the stronghold of the Leopard Men. In rescuing Old Timer and Kali Bwana he will also destroy their temple. A good day’s work.
With this story of his quest and triumph we have a second examination of religion, a continuation of the exploration begun in Tarzan Triumphant in the first half of 1931. The reference to the accident that led to these results may be a reference to the incident in Toronto in 1899. He and Emma both believed it resulted in his writing career. Perhaps the signing of the contract with MGM in April may also be inferred to as an ‘accident.’ Much research into his relations with MGM and these critical five or six years of his career is necessary. Certainly by late July and August as he was writing this story the realization of the meaning of the contract he had signed was seeping in. By 1933′s Tarzan And The Lion Man he was fully aware. Subsequent to that discovery he formed an ill advised alliance with his new wife’s ex, Ashton Dearholt, to film the ‘real’ Tarzan. That in its place. For now his troubles were not on the laps of the gods but on the desks of Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer.
If negotiations began on April 4 and were completed and signed on April 15 that means that neither ERB nor Rothmund read the contract very thoughtfully. They certainly didn’t take it to an attorney. As in Lion Man ERB complains of the duplicity of men; he was finding out what the terms of the contract meant. Perhaps in Leopard Men he was getting glimmers of the shape of things to come.
As in Triumphant the two Midian peoples obviously represent Jews and non-Jews, us meaning the Jews and them meaning the rest of the world as per Rabbi Schneerson’s division of mankind into two different species, us and them. I will treat the Utengans as us and the Leopard Men as them which is what ERB intended. The connection of the Leopard Men to the Jews can be established by two references connecting them to Hollywood:
Gato Mgungu had never had the advantages of civilization. (He had never been to Hollywood.)
And on p. 66:
Perhaps his reasons might be obvious to a Hollywood publicity agent.
I’m sure you moved out of the way so ERB’s sarcasm didn’t splash on you.
His letting his contempt for Hollywood which he had suppressed since 1922′s Girl From Hollywood show now and his associating it with Thalberg, Mayer and MGM is evidence of his frustration.
When Van Dyke returned from Africa he brought his gun bearer Riano and the actor who played Renchoro, Mutia, with him for the finishing scenes. It seems likely that ERB would have sought an introduction to these two ‘real’ Africans. One can only imagine what these two bush Negroes who had never conceived a world larger than their own Jungle thought of the twentieth century in the bizarre world of Tinseltown. How did these minds that had probably never seen a wheel prior to Van Dyke’s expedition react to what must have seemed to them a parallel universe straight out of Wells. Place yourself in their position and your head will spin. One wonders, even, having lived naked all their lives, how they reacted to dressing every morning and wearing Western style clothes all day. Did Tarzan’s experience in the shower in Tarzan Goes To New York have anything to do with these two noble savages introduction to civilization? Possibly the reference to Gato Mgungu’s never having been to Hollywood may refer to ERB’s observation of Riano and Mutia.
There is some wonderful stuff going on here. If Hollywood wasn’t centered on pornography and its concomitant degraded sadistic violence with a little imagination they might be able to put together a good movie or two from this material. Do I digress? Ah, then I digress. But back to the story.
As with ‘them’ elsewhere the Utengans are good men going about their business while the ‘us’ or Leopard Men are a destructive force in society. ERB has displaced the two religious systems to Africa where he presents two rather derogatory versions of Africans. He is uncharacteristically derogatory of the Blacks. Perhaps his concentration on so portraying the Africans was the result of his rage at the Scottsboro Boys. On p. 92 he says of the orgy of the Leopard Men:
He saw that religious and alcoholic drunkenness were rapidly robbing them of what few brains and little self-control Nature had vouchsafed them, and he trembled to think of what excesses they might commit when they passed beyond even the restraint of their leaders; nor did the fact that the chiefs, the priests, and the priestesses were becoming as drunk as their followers tend but to aggravate his fears.
ERB in his evolutionary mode had always considered the African to be less evolved but this is subjective observation and not an objective one. The bold statement ‘what few brains and little self-control’ may have been his personal opinion but doesn’t look well in print. I can’t imagine how it got beyond the Ballantine censors. I think it probable that his anger over the Scottsboro affair caused him to lose his customary discretion. In doing so he would be giving fuel to his detractors which it is never wise to do. When it is said that this is his worst novel I believe it is because of passages like this.
One wonders why the delay in the book issuance until 1936 and why then. Among other reasons one may have been that by 1936 the Communist campaign to embarrass the United States over the alleged injustice to the Boys was reaching a peak. Perhaps one intention of ERB was to show by the African example that Negroes were by nature of feeble intelligence and little self-control. If so, risky business for ERB. However throughout the novel a series of Black men is slathering at the mouth to rape Kali Bwana, recalling the train incident of the Scottsboro Boys.
ERB also introduces the concept of religious drunkenness which can exist quite independently of alcohol. Indeed there are many who can maintain a perpetual religious high. The bizarre statements of Rabbis Schneerson and Ginsburg can be attributed to religious drunkenness. In their religious enthusiasm they have certainly set aside reason. So once again a greater depth of thought is revealed than is usually attributed to Burroughs. Just two words- religious drunkenness- reveal a fair amount of thought and study.
During the great storm the Leopard Men catalyze the story by the ritual killing of a Utengan named Nyamwegi. While the storm is raging Tarzan who has taken refuge beside the bole of a great tree has it blown down with one of its great lower branches landing on his head. One admires the tensile strength of the Big Bwana’s skull. Apparently a big eighteen wheeler laden with thirty tons could roll over his head, the only possible result being a temporary loss of memory. Burroughs is going through another period of great stress so Tarzan does wake up in a world he doesn’t recognize.
A Utengan passing by notices the Big Bwana pinned to the ground on his back by the tree, not on his head, thank goodness, but somewhere over his body. No broken bones, luck is still with the Big Guy. As he had his bow and quiver slung over his back as he was pinned one has to think he’s in a fair amount of discomfort. Orando, the Utengan, is about to eliminate Tarzan from the story, which would have left a gap, when he has the suspicion that this might be his Muzimo. Orando had just been praying to his Muzimo to aid him in his hunting, perhaps Muzimo is the hunter after whom this chapter is named, and lo, he now appears. ERB goes to some lengths to demonstrate the superstitious nature of African religion. He really seems to be making an effort to belittle the African in this novel. Orando’s suspicion is confirmed a few moments later when by a series of coincidences Tarzan seems to answer when Orando calls him Muzimo. As Tarzan has no memory of another identity he assumes the role of Orando’s Muzimo. This is really quite well done.
A Muzimo is a sort of guardian angel, a spirit of an ancestor who looks after you. Tarzan really fills the role performing natural- for him- feats that Orando believes are supernatural. Tarzan, or Muzimo, directs the entire successful attack on the Leopard Men’s stronghold.
Tarzan’s role of Muzimo is a story within the story within the story which based on Trader Horn. If one keeps diving we might even find another story within the story. The story of Tarzan as Muzimo is quite independent of the story of Old Timer, the Kid and Kali Bwana. As we will learn when his role of Muzimo ends, Tarzan’s reason for coming to Utenga was to search out the Leopard Men. The fact that Old Timer, Kali Bwana and the Kid are there is mere coincidence. Their stories only become meshed at the Leopard Men’s temple which inadvertantly brings all together. Even then, after regaining his memory, as Burroughs explains, they are of little interest to Tarzan. The connection is only racial which is very weak. Really the devil is in the details; a whole lot of devils.
ERB has established the conflict between the superstition based animistic religion of the majority culture and the horrific satanic religion of his minority culture. He may be ‘fictionizing’ here the real life situation between the Western dominant culture of Christiantity, which he would still believe superstitious, and its recessive Jewish sub-culture. I’m not clear how closely he intends the comparison. At first sight Orando’s mistaking Tarzan for his Muzimo or guardian angel seems ridiculous yet even at this moment seventy percent of Americans believe in guardian angels. The figure would probably have been a few percentage points higher at that time.
Also, the Scopes Monkley Trial in Dayton, Tennessee was as recent as 1925-26, so the conflict between science and superstition in the US was by no means a settled matter. The analogy between African and American culture may be sardonic.
Just as the Utengans probably represent the Christian culture of the West so the Leopard Men may represent the minority Jewish Culture. Just as the Leopard Men had adherents functioning secretly within the majority culture directing affairs so did the Jewish Culture in the West. Just as the Leopard men had organizatonal representatives distributred amongst all the tribes across Africa functioning toward a common goal so Jewish Culture was represented in every culture of the Western world. Just as the witch doctor Sobito manipulated the affairs of the Utengans from within for the benefit of the Leopard Men so the Jewish Culture through the ADL/AJC manipulated Western Culture for its own benefit.
In the twenties and thirties the International Jewish Conspiracy phase of Jewish manipulation was the prevailing fear. The struggle to deny the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion had not yet been effected although well along.
It seems clear to me that Burroughs always has ulterior motives in his novels. He is not simply telling a story for entertainment. Burroughs must have been puzzled by the attitude of the majority culture. While Science was daily discrediting the supernatural yet the majority of the majority clung to, not so much outmoded religious beliefs, as a religious cast of mind. The belief in Christianity was being steadily eroded as based on superstition yet rather than abandoning religion Americans frantically tried to incorporate science into religion. Thus one has the strong religious quality of Liberalism that encourages the defamation of Christianity yet pursues a religious agenda based on wishful thinking.
It is very strange, more than passing strange, that while Westerners reject Christianity they have reverence for Judaism and Moslemism. While Christianity represents an anterior stage in the psychological development of mankind, the former two are even more primitive, magical and superstitious. One has to laugh out loud at Rabbi Schneerson’s attempt to incorporate genetics into his religious system while the Moslem clerics are unfathomable by both Scientific and Liberal ideas and notions. Yet Liberals attack Christianity while endorsing Judaism and Moslemism.
Burroughs pits his alter-ego Tarzan and the majority against the minority religion launching an all out attack. Tarzan, whose memory is gone, accepts his role as Orando’s Muzimo. Curiously Burroughs describes Tarzan’s tan as so deep that he is the same skin color as Orando yet retains his status as ‘White.’ Possibly Orando was better able to accept Tarzan as his Muzimo because of the skin color. Tarzan becomes Muzimo being in fact Orando’s guardian angel until he regains his memory at which point he becomes again his own man pursuing his own interests. While he is Orando’s Muzimo he is a spectacular guardian angel directing Orando’s quarrel with the Leopard Men to a successful conclusion which as we are told his original intention was the suppression of the Leopard Men.
Tarzan foils the Leopard Men’s advantage in Utenga by exposing the witch doctor Sobito as a Leopard Man as well as the spy Lupingu. He is instrument in the deaths of both. His task is made easier because Orando believes implicitly in whatever his Muzimo says. Thus, while there is a natural explanation for what happens the results appear as genuinely supernatural to Orando and his tribesmen.
This is all handled very cleverly by Burroughs as he lets the reader see what is happening as he also shows Orando’s superstitious interpretation. It’s actually pretty funny.
By following Tarzan/ Muzimo’s advice the Utengans catch the Leopard Men coming back from a ritual orgy while hung over and either kill or scatter them, men, women and children. There was no one left alive in their village. Thus the majority expel their troublesome minority or sub-culture from their midst, perhaps as ERB wished the majority culture of the United States might do with its troublesome minority culture. He may have used Africa as a metaphor for the United States. In any event Leopard Men seems to be a continuation of Triumphant on the religious level while being perhaps the most detailed examination of religion that ERB ever did. But you can see why his Liberal detractors would call this his worst novel.
At the time of writing Leopard Men the most recently issued story was Tarzan The Invincible. Tarzan Triumphant had been written and probably submitted to Blue Book but it wouldn’t be published until 1932-33 while the book edition was published in 1932 so there couldn’t as yet have been a reaction to his portrayal of the two Midian cultures and Abraham son of Abraham and his followers of Paul.
Perhaps ERB found his religious portrayal of Triumphant too clumsy so he refined it in Leopard Men.
Riders On The Storm
If you don’t enter as an initiate you won’t get the story. The symbolism in this story is so strong and complete that it should be a standard psychological textbook. Burroughs writes as though he had just come from a course in esoteric symbolism. He continues this throughout the story too. I don’t know if I can do this justice but I will try.
Burroughs has entered the defining crisis of his life, thus the novel is full of symbols of life, death, sex and regeneration. ERB feels that he is being born again, the butterfly emerging from the cocoon. The very name Kali Bwana is the primary symbol. Kali is the Hindu symbol of life, death and regeneration. Her image is as dark as this story. This story, as it were, emerges from the very bowels of the pit, the viscera of frustrated desires and hopes of their fulfillment. Very frightening actually. I can see how on one level so many people would consider it ERB’s worst. It isn’t easily understandable.. The story deals with primal needs and desires that would drive a man insane. Indeed, Kali Bwana considers Old Timer insane. He himself says that maybe he is crazy. He makes psychotic statements and is on the verge of criminal sexual behavior throughout the book until the very end when he is reformed. This is an extremely violent but regenerative story. Sort of like Walt Disney on steroids.
Kali Bwana is the joy of man’s desiring. A platinum blonde, her beauty apparently disintegrates all men’s self control as she inspires dreams of rape rather than courting. Old Timer himself has rape in mind all through the book. No man or animal in the story every thinks of honoring her femininity; their only thoughts are to violate her beauty to gratify their illicit lustful desires or, perhaps, to cannibalize her beauty and make it their own possession. This is serious stuff.
As Kali she is the mate of Shiva. while Shiva is usually depicted as a handsome young man serenely playing the flute while all goes to hell around him Burroughs represents him as the Leopard god of the cannibalistic, criminal animist or nature cult. Thus, Kali Bwana is captured by the Leopard Men to serve as high priestess to their Leopard god thus forming an Anima and Animus. Burroughs does an excellent job of presenting both the barbaric splendor and degradation of the cult or religion.
The story is set by the book’s opening, one of attempted rape and violence set amidst a terrific storm in a sort of swamp like atmosphere. One feels this is not an ordinary storm but one fraught with significance and meaning. It is a life changing storm.
The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols which I use here for reference is readily available. It discusses storms on p. 941:
The storm is a symbol of a theophany, the manifestation of the awesome and mighty power of God. While it may herald a revelation, it can also be a manifestation of divine anger and sometimes of punishment.
Creative activity is also unleashed in a storm. In a cosmic upheaval beyond the power of words, life itself was born.
And then Burroughs refers to the storm as a hurricane. The Penguin dictionary says this of that, p. 533:
Hurricanes are almost Dionysiac orgies of cosmic energy. They symbolize the ending of one period of time and the beginning of another as tireless Earth repairs the damage.
So now we have the figure of the eternal female, the symbol of birth, death and regeneration coupled with storm and hurricane symbols also denoting major epochal changes. The impact is increased by the whole being expressed in a half dozen pages, very compressed.
It should be noted that Florence Gilbert represents Kali Bwana and Old Timer is obviously ERB. the changes are happening to him. Florence/Kali is both repelled and passive. Perhaps because of the ripening romance between his wife and ERB Ashton Dearholt had taken her on a motor tour removing her from the scene probably hoping separation would end the affir. According to the ERBzine 30s Bio Timeline the Dearholts returned to LA in May just as ERB was completing Triumphant and before he began Leopard Men. If he had been fighting his feelings for Florence her return was obviously more than he could deal with hence this terrific storm and the overwhelming number of female symbols in the novel.
At the same time as the rape attempt the Leopard Men corner Nyamwegi, a Utgengan returning from a date with his girl friend. Amidst the multiple bolts of lightning which illuminate the entire sky and tremendous crashes of thunder the Leopard Men gruesomely and bloodily murder the boy removing body parts.
ERB accentuates the ferocity of the storm and hurricane by saying that the lightning bolts were numerous and continuous, filling the entire sky. The Penguin dictionary, p. 606:
Lightning symbolizes the spark of life and powers of fertilization. It is fire from Heaven, vastly powerful and terrifyingly swift, which may be either life giving or death dealing.
And on p. 607:
As the weapon of Zeus, forged in FIRE (symbol of the intellect) by the Cyclops, lightning is the symbol of intentive and spiritual enlightenment or the sudden flash of inspiration. However, while it enlightens and stirs the spirit, lightning strikes down the drive of unsatisfied and uncontrolled desire…
So after this storm all will be changed; there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. Kali Bwana has averted personal disaster while Nyamwegi has met his end. Nearby in another part of the forest Tarzan and Nkima crouch beside a forest giant to wait out the storm. Here the hurricane topples the tree uprooting it. Tarzan tosses Nkima out of the way but is himself struck by a branch, one assumes one of the big ones of the lower terrace. Once again the Big Fella is given a case of amnesia so that he is not aware of his racial affinity to the Whites aligning himself with the Blacks.
In another part of the forest, not too far away, Old Timer and the Kid are discussing their fortunes apparently unaware of this massive storm. As Old Timer sets out on the trail of ivory on the morrow he hears a shot which leads him to Kali Bwana. All the elements of the New Day are in place.
The action takes place not only in the forest but in the Ituri Rain Forest, the forest of forests. In Western symolism the forest is where the lost man wanders in search of his redemption. One has to find one’s way out of the forest for personal redemption. Thus Old Timer and Kali lose their way wandering around in the forest hopelessly lost. At one point Old Timer can’t see the constellations to navigate at night. At another the forest is so dark he can’t see the sun to navigate by it. Both he and Kali have to be rescued by Tarzan after he regains his memory.
As David Adams has pointed out Sheeta the panther is always associated with the Anima or female. Usually Sheeta is described as a panther but in this novel Sheeta is the Leopard. The smell of Sheeta is overwhelming throughout this novel. In this case I think we may be sure that Sheeta represents the fear of the feminine. Tarzan and Nkima are inseparable in this novel. Throughout the entire novel Nkima complains about the small of Sheeta who wishes to devour him, in other words, to emasculate him. So Burroughs is afraid of what is happening to him in regards of Florence. When Tarzan recovers consciousness after the battle with the Leopard Men the first thing he does is call Nkima. The little monkey in his place on Tarzan’s shoulder reminds one of the Egypian Ka or double. Tarzan the fearless and Nkima the fearful. Burroughs as a child confronted by John the Bully.
As an aspect of Tarzan’s- and Burroughs’- character Nkima probably represents his more chicken livered side. There is no record of Tarzan ever having fear, he doesn’t even know the meaning of the word, but Burroughs did hence Nkima who knows nothing but fear. Neither Tarzan nor Burroughs have ever been what one would call ladies men hence if not fear of the feminine at least an apprehension of it. As Burroughs is now reaching a major crisis of his life having now to choose either Emma or Florence it is not to be wondered that the forest reeks of Sheeta. Indeed, the Leopard Men themselves are symbols of the feminine and they intend to sacrifice Old Timer. Thus one has the leopard as Leopard god and Kali Bwana as his Leopard goddess.
The tremendous rainfall, itself a symbol of regeneration and fertility from the male sky god would create a steaming swamplike atmosphere as it fell on Mother Earth while the temple of the Leopard God itself was in a crocodile infested swamp.
First the Crocodile as symbol, Penguin p. 244:
The crocodile which carries the Earth on its back, is a divinity of darkness and the Moon, whose greed is like that of the NIGHT which each evening devours the Sun. From civilization to civilization and from age to age the crododile exhibits a high proportion of the countless links in that basic symbolic chain which belongs to the controlling forces of death and rebirth. The crocodile may be a formidable figure, but this is because like all expression of the power of fate, what he displays is inevitable- darkness falling so that daylight may return, death striking so that life may be reborn.
In other words, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Poor Emma. Obviously for ERB he is killing his past so that his future may be born.
The temple is in the center of a swamp so deep withing the forest that the sun never shines on it. The swamp is the quintessential female symbol. It is in the Lernean swamp where Heracles has to battle with the Hydra. Hydra=the water of the feminine and the irrational. Each time Heracles cuts off one of the seven heads another grows in its place until he cauterizes each severance with fire, that is the power of the male intellect.
Thus, one has crocodiles, leopards, water, swamp, the river and Stygian darkness. if you can’t rise above the fear of the feminine, you will be swamped, drowned in her waters. The only entrance and exit is this slow moving river is obscured by the forest. This river of mystery and death, this impenentrable forest. The River is the last of the great symbols we will consider, Penguin p. 808:
The symbolism of rivers and running water is simultaneously that of the ‘universal potentiality’ and that of the ‘fluidity of forms’ (Schuan) of fertility, death and revewal. The stream is that of life and death. It may be regarded as flowing down to the sea; as a current against which one swims; or as something to be crossed from one bank to another. Flowing into the sea it is the the gathering of the waters, the return to an undifferentiated state, attaining Nirvana. Swimming against the stream is clearly returning to the divine source, the First Cause. Crossing the river is overcoming an obstacle, separating two realms or conditions, the phenomenal world and the unconditioned state, the world of the senses and the state of non-attachment.
Then this from Burroughs, p. 191:
The sun was sinking behind the western forest, its light playing on the surging current of the great river that rolled past the village of Bobolo. A man and a woman stood looking out across the water that was plunging westward in its long journey to the sea down to the trading posts and the towns and the ships, which are the frail links that connect the dark forest with civilization.
If one looks at this novel from an esoteric symbolic point of view the symbols tell their own story.
As Old Timer says Kali means Woman. At the beginning we have Woman and the Shaggy Man.
I haven’t given the symbolism of the Shaggy Man yet so using the Penguin Dictionary of Symbols again under the heading Rags and Tatters, p. 782:
(Rags And Tatters) are the symbol of anxiety and lesions of the psyche as well as that material poverty which, in folktale, is sometimes adopted as a disguise by princes, princesses and wizards. It denotes simultaneously poverty and anxiety or cloaks inner riches under an appearance of wretchedness, thus displaying the superiority of the inner over the outer self.
Thus Kali- the Woman- the symbol of death, birth and regeneration, and The Shaggy Man or the Frog Prince, the Hero in disguise, waiting to be regenerated by the kiss of the ultimate Woman. A classic fairy tale, actually, with a tip of the hat to David Adams for insisting on the fairy tale connection.
The Man, the Woman, the Storm with a tremendous display of Lightning, Thunder, Wind and Rain completely transforming both the physical and psychic landscapes bringing the Man and the Woman together.
The Woman is then captured by the repressed sexual desire of the Leopard Men who wish to install her as their Goddess. The Woman or Kali is stripped Naked and then adorned with various attributes of the Leopard Cult.
As in various myths, fairytale and folklore stories the Man and the Woman (the Anima and Animus) have been separated by Fate and must fight through all obstacles to be reunited.
Kali (Woman) is led through the teeming, steaming forest with a rope around her neck to the big river down which she is canoed to a smaller stream, ‘the silent river of mystery and death’ in the darkest, swampiest, most crocodile infested part of the darkest of dark forests.
Abandoning all other concerns the Shaggy Man pursues Kali to the village of the Leopard Men where he is taken prisoner, then taken down the silent river (the Styx?) to be sacrificed. By a miracle the two escape only to be separated again while the Shaggy Man is taken back to the temple of the Leopard Men. Kali, Woman, is captured by a Black chief to serve his sexual needs. Rape again. White=Light, Black= Darkness. Thus the ever present threat of rape seems to be about to be fulfilled. But no, the elder wife of the Black chief objects to the White Woman. Out of the pot and into the fire. The Woman is left with Pygmies who are even more vile than the Blacks.
But now a Deus ex-machina, Tarzan, has released the Shaggy Man. Hot in pursuit he follows Woman to the Pygmy camp. He madly attempts rescue which is successful once again because of the Deus ex machina.
It’s not over yet folks. ERB can make any 192 page story go on for a near eternity. Together again Kali and the Shaggy Man are once more torn assunder when the Deus ex machina sends an ape who captures the Shaggy Man. Makes you breathless, doesn’t it? Deus once again reunites the Woman and Shaggy Man. Now, if you will notice the Shaggy Man forces a kiss on Woman. His act of violence shames him so that he finds redemption in his remorse. Thus the kiss of Woman has returned the Frog Prince to his rightful form.
As the story ends the two are about to leave the dark forest for the light of civilization down river.
Thus one has the classic myths- Psyche and Eros, Perseus and Andromeda and many others, numerous fairy tales -Cinderella, one which ERB has used before, and much folklore. It is done very well, too, if you’re following the bouncing ball.
It is noteworthy that the work of another great author is misunderstood too. I refer to the ancient poet Homer. While Homer’s reputation is very great no one understands the Iliad. The adventures of the Gods and Goddesses are beyond the comprehension of classical scholars. Thus they prefer the Odyssey which is written in a more comprehensible if pedestrian style. If I remember correctly the Five Foot Shelf excludes the Iliad while containing the Odyssey. While both are attributed to Homer they must have been written by two different mind sets. The psychology of each is too different to have been written by one mind. Besides the Iliad concerns the middle part of the Siege of Troy while the Odyssey skips all the way to the story of only one of the Returns.
There are similarities in the way Burroughs and Homer tell their stories but to avoid argument Homer is incomparably the greater.
Nevertheless Burroughs has masterfully used a set of symbols to supply a very rich subtext to this story and he has done it intentionally. He does know whereof he speaks. I don’t think there is any doubt that he has studied Esoterica. Probably the topic was of life long interest both in the old kook capitol Chicago and the new kook capitol of Los Angeles. (Kookie, Kookie, lend me your comb.)
There was a lot of esoterica going on in LA. The Golden Dawn of Aleister Crowley was out in the desert at Barstow, Manly Hall was advising the movies on estoteric matters, the Vedantists were established and the Theosophists had a terrific college in LA.
Anybody who thinks ERB wasn’t interested in such things doesn’t know how to spell Edgar Rice Burroughs.
While ERB wouldn’t touch a religious theme unless ‘highly fictionized’ he managed to highly fictionize all manner of religion in this great novel of his mature period. He was working at break neck pace too.
Love this stuff.
On to Part IV which will deal with the cast of characters. Inevitably there’s a certain amount of repitition but I try to cast the stuff in different highlights, crosslights and aspects. This stuff deserves a thorough examination.
October 25, 2011
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Themes And Variations
#16 TARZAN AND THE LEOPARD MEN
While Tarzan And The Leopard Men is not well thought of by Bibliophiles being considered the worst of the series, I can’t find any reason to believe this. I couldn’t place it in the top five but the book is on a general par with the rest of the series, perhaps a little better.
I think the problem arises because it is thought to portray the African in a negative light. As with the Mafia there are those who deny the Leopard cult because it is offensive to their sensibilities. They prefer to see the African as a ‘noble savage.’ I have no problem with this attitude but I prefer historical accuracy to anything I might wish to believe.
The existence of the Leopard cult in no way diminishes the character of the African. Secret societies are part of every culture in this multi-cultural world. Many of them are murderous. The Assasins of Hasani Sabah of Persia are a notorious example. The Illuminati who were responsible for the worst atrocities of the French Revolution are another. The Freemasons who while perhaps not so violent function, have functioned and do function as a secret brotherhood who help each other against society. The Mafia and Organized Crime in general are secret societies on a par with Leopard Men. During the thirties Lepke Buchalter ran the infamous Murder, Inc. So I see no reason to lower one’s opinion of the book because it may seem to certain sensibilities, by no means shared by all, to disparage the Negro. The events in the Congo after independence and the events in Shonaland happening now are so horrific they make the Leopard Men seem like novices.
The book Tarzan And The Leopard Men was written over July-September of 1931; a trifle of a rush job even for a fast writer like Burroughs. The story was published in Blue Book from Auguast 1932 to January 1933. Book publication was delayed until 1936 so there may have been some editing to reflect personal events over that period.
As the novel shows a rather direct influence from both the book and movie of Trader Horn Burroughs may have received some criticism from the magazine publication hence delaying book publication until time had dimmed the memory.
When Burroughs formed his publishing company he had expected to write a Tarzan novel a year. That schedule would have been adhered to except for this novel that was interjected into the series out of order of its writing.
The cause of the disturbance is very easy to find. In February of 1931 MGM released it great African epic Trader Horn. According to the ERBzine Bio Timeline for the 1930s, on February 23 ERB and Emma drove into Hollywood to catch the show. So we do know exactly when he saw the movie, or, at least, the first half of it. At intermission Emma remembered that they were to babysit for daughter Joan drawing her husband from the theatre. I’m sure ERB steamed over that for more than a day.
At that date he was in the midst of writing Tarzan Triumphant but Trader Horn aroused him so much that he began to plan a rejoinder. After completing Triumphant in May he conceived Leopard Men and rushed it through. Perhaps ERB thought Horn infringed on the Big Bwana’s African domain as Leopard Men is a virtual reformulation of Horn using elements from both the book and movie. Of course ERB ‘adapted’ Horn for his own needs. Trader Horn was to be an influence on the rest of the series.
Trader Horn as a book first appeared in 1927. It was a non-fiction best seller in both ’27 and ’28, in the top five for both years, a tremendous success. That alone might have aroused ERB’s jealousy. Whether he read the book between its issue date and his viewing of the movie isn’t known but that he had read it by the time he wrote Leopard Men is clear. The title does not appear in his library although Director W.S. Van Dyke’s 1931 story of the African filming, Horning Into Africa, does. ERB undoubtedly used Van Dyke’s book as background for his 1933 effort, Tarzan And The Lion Man.
Don’t look for a copy of Van Dyke in your library; the book was privately printed and distributed. Copies are available on the internet but at collector prices of from one to several hundreds of dollars. Thus it will readily be seen how large a space Trader Horn formed in ERB’s consciousness.
I’m sure that when Emma dragged him from the theatre to babysit, ERB had no idea how influential Trader Horn was going to be in his life. For at least three years his career centered around it. In 1931 he saw the movie, possibly read the book for the first time and wrote Leopard Men. In ’31 the contract with MGM surrendering the rights to the portrayal of his Tarzan characters was signed. Then Van Dyke and Hume fashioned Tarzan, The Ape Man after Trader Horn. Tarzan, The Ape Man was a major success changing the public’s understanding of the character of Tarzan from a literate cosmopolite to feral child. In answer Burroughs wrote a parody of Van Dyke’s African filming of Trader Horn. When the screen Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, gave up the role in the late forties he put on some clothes and became Jungle Jim who might very well have been modeled on Trader Horn. Perhaps an inside joke.
Trader Horn and Ethelreda Lewis
At the time Alfred Aloysius ‘Wish’ Smith otherwise known as Trader Horn told his story to the woman who wrote it up and got it published, Ethelreda Lewis, he was a seventy year old derelict living in a doss house in Johannesburg, South Africa. Etheldreda Lewis was a well-known South African novelist.
Horn made his meager living by making wire gridirons and selling them door to door. He had developed a sad sack routine meant to induce housewives to buy his gridirons out pity. It worked with Mrs. Lewis.
She engaged him in conversation. As a novelist she realized he had a story to tell, she encouraged him to do so. Horn wrote up a chapter a week bringing it to her on Mondays. As she treated him respectfully offering him tea and cakes and a last chance at self-respect before he peeled off for the other side of the river he managed to prolong his story over twenty-six chapters and one presumes as many weeks of tea and cakes. Trader Horn the book is indicated to be Vol. I. There is a volume two telling of his other adventures. Vol. I is currently in print for 16.95, probably less on Amazon. Highly recommended.
In addition to Horn’s story Mrs. Lewis also recorded their weekly conversation which she appends to each chapter. Horn makes some very interesting and timely observations, a little sad but on the knowing side. I’m sure ERB was sympathetic as Horn confirmed his own beliefs. Altogether a very interesting and entertaining book which should have been a best seller not only for two years but more.
Horn’s experiences were so wonderful that naturally the question has arisen as to how accurate his recollections may be. I have read a number of vulgar opinions stating that Mr. Horn was a liar. I take offense at such an assertion. The man was relating his life. He may possibly have gotten a few details wrong but, as they say in Hollywood, his life was based on a true story.
I have read the book five times now within the last four years. My opinion as to Horn’s veracity is this. He very much wants to please and prolong a pleasant interlude to a rather grim life at the time. He had read a number of books including Burroughs and Du Chaillu. He claims to have known the French explorer De Brazza. He was an educated, intelligent and experienced man. He had apparently always had literary leanings.
Everyone has to be somewhere every moment of their lives and I have no doubt that Horn was on the Ogowe River in Gabon at the time he says he was. As a reader I hope I can perceive the ring of authenticity in a man’s reminiscences . Also I have been around myself enough to have seen some things, even seen some repeatedly, for which I get looks of incredulity, so just because I haven’t seen some things doesn’t mean they aren’t true. I reserve the right to question them to myself but stranger things have happened than I’ve ever seen.
While Horn is telling his own story I think he tries to make a good story better combining fiction with a factual tale. One questions his story of the White Goddess, Nina T. That story just doesn’t ring true. It seems like he borrows a little from ERB. Nina T. has been the Egbo goddess since the age of four, five or six being now in her twenties. She was the daughter of an English trader George T. who died when amongst the Blacks. They then appropriated her to groom as their White Goddess.
While Horn is plotting to spirit her away he has to communicate with her in writing, one imagines cursive. He has to explain how she can read, write and understand English. Nina T. and Tarzan should have gotten together. Horn explains that before George T. died he taught the very young Nina how to read and write using a picture alphabet book. Over the intervening twenty years or so Nina never forgot, itself a great feat of memory. Not quite as amazing an accomplishment as Tarzan teaching himself to read and write from possibly the identical picture alphabet book but still very impressive.
The natives also have a giant ruby as a fetish that Horn says he lifted by having a replica made solely from a description he sent to his friend Peru. As he was the first White man to be initiated into Egbo such a betrayal of his oath doesn’t speak well for his integrity or trustworthiness.
Thus, while I don’t have any trouble believing his trading and hunting adventures I have to conclude that as Burroughs would say, he was ‘fictionizing’ the rest. Nevertheless it makes a good story and if relating it made him feel good so much the better. No reason to call him a liar and his story lies.
One has conflicting reports on his subsequent life. On one hand there is a story he lived well off the proceeds of the book in England. When he was about to die the story goes that he said: Where’s me passport, boys, I’m off to Africa. Famous last words, indeed. On the other hand it is said that he died in 1927 in SA before he received the fruits of his labor. I would like to think he lived long enough to see a version of his story on the silver screen. If he had one imagines he would have been brought to Hollywood for the premier. He wasn’t.
So, whichever way he went, a tip of the hat for you Trader Horn.
Horn, Van Dyke, Hume and Burroughs
Had ERB known of Trader Horn in far off South Africa turning in his weekly installments to Mrs. Lewis I doubt if he would have realized how large a part Horn’s story was to play in his own life.
When the book was published and became a bestseller, something which Burroughs must have heard of, there must have been a glimmer of interest but still no recognition of Horn’s future impact on his life. When he saw Van Dyke’s movie he was duly impressed and was influenced but still probably had no idea of what loomed ahead.
By 1932′s MGM movie, Tarzan, The Ape Man, he had begun to realize the significance of Trader Horn to his own life. When he sat down to write Tarzan And The Lion Man the Old Campaigner was aware. While no copy of Trader Horn found its way into his library we know for certain he read it. A book that did find its way into his library was W.S. Van Dyke’s account of the filming of Trader Horn, Horning Into Africa of 1931. This book was used as the basis for Tarzan And The Lion Man.
It seems certain that Van Dyke read Trader Horn shortly after issue. By 1929 as the book was moving down the charts Van Dyke, a cast of many and several tens of tons of equipment were moving to Africa to form a safari to end all safaris. Not since Henry Morton Stanley in his quest for Livingstone had Africa seen such a spectacle.
Trader Horn was the first entertainment film shot on location in Africa. All the footage was authentic except those scenes shot on lot in Hollywood. I’m learning to talk Hollywood…all, except. The movie was a mind blower when it hit the theatres being one of the biggest grossers of all time. Burroughs saw it, picked up his pen, dictaphone or whatever, and following the script and book closely dashed off Tarzan And The Leopard Men leaving out the bit about the music box. Let’s compare the three versions of Trader Horn.
In the book Horn is the central character. He is a young man of seventeen or eighteen who has run away from school. Peru, his schoolhood chum, does not enter the story until the very end. His faithful Black companion, Renchoro, plays a very secondary auxliary role.
In the movie Horn is a grizzled Old Africa Hand tutoring his young pal, Peru. In the opening scene they are sitting around the campfire before setting out for the interior.
Burroughs follows the movie in having Old Timer teaming up with his young pal, The Kid. Even though the character of Old Timer seems to be based on a man of Burroughs’ age it is explained that he is under thirty while the Kid is twenty-two. Maybe ERB looked old but felt young.
In Horn Nina T. is a dark haired beauty the daughter of an Englishman George T. and an octaroon which means Nina is one sixteenth Negro but not so’s you could tell. She is literate, after a fashion, being able to read Horn’s handwritten notes in English. Horn buys her European clothes which she wears while yet a goddess.
In the movie Nina is a real primitive with the brain of an ape. Burroughs may have been thinking of her when he created Balza of Lion Man. She is astonishingly well played by Edwina Booth who has a mane of blond hair that would have gained her entrance as the queen of the Hippies in the sixties. A very exciting appearance. Just as Van Dyke and Hume made Tarzan an illiterate they show no favors to Nina. She couldn’t have begun the the alphabet let alone recite it.
In the book her mother died before her father. In the movie Horn and Peru encounter her mother walking through the jungle in search of a daughter lost twenty years previously. I laughed. I wouldn’t know if anyone else did as I was watching alone in front of my TV. By the way the VHS I was fortunate enough to buy new for twenty dollars, now out of print, is advertised on Amazon for up to one hundred seventy-five dollars. What a strange world. I hope they issue it on DVD. Maybe this essay will spur enough interest.
Horn coyly refused to give Nina’s last name as she is an heiress to the T. fortune which had been claimed long before. The movie boldly proclaims her as Nina Trent.
As Burroughs tells it, the future White Goddess is known as Kali Bwana, a name the natives gave to her. Her real name is Jessie Jerome. Her brother is Jerome Jerome. This is probably a coy reference to the English writer Jerome K. Jerome whose classic Three Men In A Boat was in ERB’s library as well as Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow. Three Men is supposed to be one of the most comic books in the English language. If so, it was too subtle or too broad for this reader. I didn’t find it amusing. ERB must have liked it. Jerry Jerome covers the Jerome Jerome parts of the name while the K of Kid provides the middle initial. Jerome K. Jerome.
The names are conceald from us until the very end of the book so there must be a haw haw there for the knowing reader. ERB calls Jerome Jerry never calling him Jerome Jerome.
Kali Bwana or Jessie Jerome is ‘what is known as a platinum blonde.’ So the goddess has gone from dark hair to the blondest. Jean Harlow had starred in Howard Hughes 1930 production of Hell’s Angels making her the Blonde Bombshell of Htown so ERB was duly impressed.
In the book Horn was a bright young man, in the movie, an old African hand. In Burroughs although ‘not yet thirty’ he is an Old Timer, a bum because of what a woman done to him. Since Kali Bwana/Florence redeems his attitude toward women we are free to assume that Emma was the woman what done it to ERB.
Kali Bwana is deserted in the jungle by her safari because she refuses to submit to the embraces of her Negro headman. Old Timer discovers her camp where she tells him she is looking for her brother Jerry Jerome, in yet another parody of Stanley and Livingstone. Old Timer and the Kid have never asked each other’s names so Old Timer has never heard of Jerry Jerome, even though he is Old Timer’s partner. Thus the rest of the story need never have happened had they known each other’s names. ERB likes this sort of thing, using it often.
Old Timer puts Kali Bwana under his protection which proves ineffective against the Leopard Men who seize her and carry her away to their Josh house to be their goddess.
In the book Renchoro is merely an associate of Horn. In the movie Renchoro becomes virtually a romantic interest of Horn. Several scenes are tinged with homosexual overtones, especially Renchoro’s death scene while when Peru and Nina T. board the paddle wheeler for the return to civilization and Horn remains behind a big balloon containing a picture of Renchoro appears as a hearthrob for Horn. Horn returns to the jungle presumably to find a substitute for Renchoro. Interesting comment on the Black-White relationship.
In the Burroughs’ story the Black-White relationship is removed to one between Tarzan and Orando. Tarzan has a tree fall on his head as the story opens not unsurprisingly giving him another case of amnesia. Orando happens along. He is about to put an arrow through the Big Bwana when Tarzan speaks to him in his own dialect. A handy thing to not only know every dialect in Africa, human and animal, but to know when to employ the appropriate one. Probably has something to do with a refined sense of smell.
Speaking of ape languages, Spain is about to vote on a measure giving apes human status in the country. So not only is the human species to be counted politically in Spain but leaping the Last Hominid Predecessor, an entirely different evolutionary strain is to be accounted human. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish ape population votes.
Orando then mistakes Tarzan for Muzimo or his guardian spirit. Thus for most of the book the relationship between Muzimo and Orando is that of the movie between Horn and Renchoro. And also between God and Human.
Horn traded on the Ogowe River in Gabon. Much of his story concerns his navigation of the Ogowe and its tributaries. Unlike every other African explorer I have read Horn makes Africa seem a wonderland. Every other writer makes Africa dark and forboding with piles of human skulls laying around, walkways lined with skulls. Horn’s Africans are laughing back slappers who are merry even as they are shooting and killing each other. The rain forest along the Congo depresses all other explorers but Horn finds the Ogowe otherwise. The skulls are still there but Horn apparently finds them amusing. The river Horn navigates unlike those of Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness or Stanley’s Through The Dark Continent and In Darkest Africa is a bright cheery place. Maybe it’s all a state of mind.
Van Dyke has only one river and that does not play a central role while it is on the dark side, a river of death. It is also the Nile in East Africa. Most of the movie takes place on terra firma.
Burroughs makes the rivers central to his story but they are dark, violent rivers of death. ERB borrows more heavily from Stanley on this score than he does from Horn. Actually, if one is looking for similarities there is some resemblance of Horn’s story to the Beasts Of Tarzan, but the latter is based on Edgar Wallace’s Sanders Of The River. We don’t know what of Burroughs Horn read; it is quite possible that he read a few of the six or seven Tarzans available in his time.
Horn has the Egbo fraternity practicing their rites in a long building quite similar to that employed in Burroughs’ Cave Girl of 1913. Horn would have had to have read that in magazine form which is possible but seems a stretch.
Van Dyke has his rites practiced in the open. Horn originates the idea of crucifying the victims upside down so that when the head is cut off the blood drains into a pot for ritual uses. Van Dyke includes an upside down crucifixion but leaves out the more grisly details.
Burroughs dispenses with the crucifixion scene entirely relying on his often used cannibalism. This may be one of the reasons the book is disliked. In the sixties the traditional cannibal cooking pot was derided as a false stereotype of the African. It was denied that cannibalism had ever been practiced in Africa. Black musical groups in the US like Cannibal And The Headhunters ridiculed the facts. Thus imputing cannibalism to Africa became bad taste. Perhaps when Leopard Men was reprinted in 1964 its heavy reliance on such rituals prejudiced a certain mental outlook against it so the story was derided as the worst of Burroughs novels. While very dark and even gruesome the story isn’t noticeably inferior to any of the others.
In the book Horn is not only on good terms with the various tribes but he was the first White man initiated into the Egbo society. Egbo is at its most innocent a sort of Freemasonic society and at its worst on a par with the Leopard Men. Horn describes Egbo as a sort of vigilante society who do in anyone any member has a grievance against. Neither Egbo nor Leopard Men figure into Van Dyke’s movie. As I understand it , Nina T.’s people merely practice savage primitive rites.
Burroughs who has moved his story from the Ogowe of Gabon to the Aruwimi of the Ituri Rain Forest with which he was familair from Stanley’s account in his In Darkest Africa relates the Leopard cult that was notorious at the time. Horn does have a lot of leopards in his story giving a detailed description of how their talons leave cuts looking like they were sliced by knives. His natives wear a lot of leopard skins. There isn’t much on Egbo available on the internet except a notice that it originated on the Calabar Coast which, if I’m not mistaken is where the Leopard cult comes from.
Fellow Bibliophile David Adams gives a good short account of the Leopard Men.
Burroughs undoubtedly had sources so that his presentation is based on facts of the Leopard Men but adapted for his own purposes. Thus he makes the Leopard Men the central idea of the story. Tarzan becomes involved with the Leopard Men through his role as the Muzimo of Orando. As an ally of Orando’s Utenga people Tarzan engineers the destruction of the Leopard Men’s village and cult in that part of his domain.
In Horn’s book as a member of Egbo he is familiar with the Negroes, a member of the cult and has full access to the ldge and, in fact, Nina T. He has no difficulty in rescuing her whatever. He had just previously defeated the Egbo chief in battle so that worthy was thoroughly cowed refusing to even give chase.
In Van Dyke’s movie Horn and Peru wander into an African Chief’s village attempting to trade. The chief is uninterested in trading seizing them as victims for his sacrifical rites.
Horn and and Peru as trade goods offer the chief a music box that the chief scorns. In the book the music box is known as Du Chaillu’s Music Box. At some earlier time Du Chaillu while researching gorillas had left a music box and compass behind that enthralled the Africans. Peru shows up with another that they leave behind, presumably in payment for the monster ruby.
Van Dyke apparently thought the music box ridiculous while Burroughs doesn’t use it at all although he does follow the movie scene with the African chief closely.
In his version the Old Timer in pursuit of Kali Bwana learns that she was abducted by Gato Mgungu and taken to his village. Gato means cat so perhaps the name has some reference to leopards. Gato Mgungu is chief of the Leopard Men. Old Timer who has traded with Mgungu before barges into his village alone demanding he release Kali Bwana. In the movie the chief is a tall, extremely well built, handsome fellow. Quite astonishing actually, while Burroughs gives Mgungu a huge pot belly. Old Timer is given as short a shrift as the movie Horn. He is seized, dumped in a canoe and taken down river to the Leopard Men’s lodge also, as in the movie, destined for the stew pot.
In the book Horn and Nina T. are well acquainted. She trusts him and is eager to be rescued. They easily escape down river in Horn’s boat. In the movie Horn and Peru are shown o Nina T. who falls in love with Peru. Somehow an escape plan is concocted that she more or less leads. They are hotly pursued by her people. The band finds its way to the trading post on the river although Renchoro is killed.
Burroughs has Kali Bwana taken to the lodge where with titillating details involving gorgeous nudity she is prepared to serve as chief goddess of the Leopard King who is a real leopard along the lines of the various lion kings of Burrough’s stories.
Old Timer is held captive among the crowd of Leopard Men gathered for the rites. As Kali Bwana is led out they both recognize each other and gasp. Unknown to everyone the Big Bwana is up in the rafters observing everything. From then on he becomes the agent of deliverance.
In the book Nina T. having been rescued, Horn provides the happiest of endings. Horn and Peru have only one goddess between them. She must go to one or the other. The happy-go-lucky goddess is willing to take either the one or the other so they flip a coin for her. The outcome is obvious since Horn didn’t marry her. Peru wins the toss and gets the goddess. Peru is the son of the owner of one of the richest silver mines in the world in his namesake Peru. He has just come of age so he is one Porfirio Rubirosa. Nina T. has left the jungle to fall into unimaginable wealth. As I see her as nearly a feral child I do not envy Peru.
The two are married aboard ship by the captain then after a pleasant interlude in Madeira Peru and Nina go their way while Trader Horn and his ruby go another. Horn sells his ruby to Tiffany’s from whom he does quite well. The stone while large has flaws so he didn’t do was well as he might have.
In this volume at least Horn doesn’t mention ever hearing from Peru and Nina T. again. He may mention them in volume two but I haven’t read it.
In the movie with Nina’s tribesmen hot on their trail Nina and Peru go off in one direction while Horn and Renchoro lead the tribesmen on a wild goose chase. Renchoro is killed but Horn makes it back to the trading post. Peru and Nina are now an item. She has either quickly picked up enough English to understand a proposal and say yes or she just likes the color of Peru’s eyes. They offer to take Horn with them but that balloon of Renchoro pops up with the implication that Horn can find himself another African ‘boy’, which he seems to prefer. The paddlewheeler steams down the river with Nina and Peru while Horn turns back toward the jungle presumably in search of another ‘boy.’
Burroughs version is much more involved. Suffice it to say that after many tribulations the French army shows up to suppress the remnants of the Leopard Men who were destroyed by Tarzan and the Utengas. Jerome K. Jerome locates Old Timer and the goddess Kali Bwana. The latter two have been reconciled and now are in love with each other. When Old Timer learns that her real name is Jessie Jerome he fears the worst.
In one of Buroughs, name games Kali Bwana had refused to give him her real name insisting he should call her Kali. Old Timer refused to give his last name but confessed to being named Hiram. Perhaps his last name was Walker. Kali could him ‘Hi.’ Just as there is a joke in the Kid being Jerome K. Jerome there is probably a joke in Old Timer being called Hi.
I refer you to Lewish Carroll’s Hunting Of The Snark:
There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship- but the worst of it was
He had wholly forgotten his name.
He would answer to “Hi!” or any loud cry,
Such as “Fry me!” or
Fritter My Wig!”
There is a copy of The Hunting Of The Snark in ERB’s library so he must have read and reread the poem, as well as, one might note, The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam, so I think telling Kali Bwana she could call him Hi or any old thing is another of his literary jokes which are sprinkled throughout the novels.
Old Timer is overjoyed when he learns that Jerry and Jessie are brother and sister instead of husband and wife. As they are about to board the old paddle-wheeler, as in the movie, Jessie asks Old Timer to come with her. (Old Timer plays coy.)
The sun was sinking behind the western forest, the light playing on the surging current of the great river that rolled past the village of Bobolo. A man and a woman stood looking out across the water that plunged westward on its long journey to the sea, down to the trading posts and the towns and the ships, which are the frail links that connect the dark forest with civilization.
“Tomorrow you will start,” said the man. “In six or eight weeks you will be home. Home!” There was a world of wistfulness inn the simple, homely word. He sighed, “I am so glad for both of you.”
She came closer to him and stood directly in front of him, looking straight into his eyes. “You are coming with us,” she said.
“What makes you think so?” he asked.
“Because I love you, you will come.”
It can be plainly seen how all three versions of this scene are related while being derived from the original of the novel. As Burroughs adapted the movie version of the relationship between Horn and Peru he followed the movie ending.
Thus the novel and movie reoriented his own approach to Tarzan novels. The relationship of the three stories has literary repercussions. While it is plainly seen that Burroughs was, shall we say, highly inspired by Horn’s novel and Van Dyke’s movie, what might not be so apparent to the untrained eye is the extent to which both Horn and Van Dyke were influenced by the work of Burroughs which preceded theirs by a couple decades.
Horn admits to being familiar with the Tarzan stories. He was a first time writer here, while he had his own story to tell, he needed a format. He has chosen to emphasize many characteristics of the few Tarzan novels he could have read by 1925. While the Ogowe River figures in his life he probably would have been excited by the river scenes in Beasts Of Tarzan. He treats elephants and gorillas that he had actually seen in the wild differently than Burroughs but includes generous doses of both because they have worked for Burroughs.
Viewing from a distance as we are compelled to do one loses the savor of the times. A Burroughs reading Horn carefully might easily have picked up many references that slip by us.
Van Dyke and Hume on the other hand had been exposed to Tarzan movies for a dozen years or so. What they read can’t be so obvious. But the very format of the jungle thriller would have derived from previous Tarzan movies. ERB may have felt he was entering a turf war as the Big Bwana’s domain was being invaded.
He may have believed himself justified in expropriating the expropriators. If Horn died in 1927 his opinion no long mattered. What Ethelreda Lewis may have thought isn’t known. She apparently had a hand in writing the movie script for Swiss Family Robinson. Whether she came to Hollywood to do it I am not informed although she was around the movie capitol for a number of years. A meeting between her and ERB would have been interesting.
What Van Dyke and Hume may have thought I am equally uninformed, however between the release of Horn in February 1931 and the release of Tarzan, The Ape Man in March of 1932 was a year during which a contract was negotiated between MGM and Burroughs for the use of his characters but not of any of his material on April 15 of 1932. (Erzine Bio Timeline, 1930s). Within nine months then the movie Tarzan, The Ape Man was in the theatres.
The generally expressed view is that Hume first wrote up a script involving a combination Horn and Tarzan story. This was before they might have seen Leopard Men in print. To quote William Armstrong from ERBzine 0610:
Cyril Hume who had turned the filming of “Trader Horn” in Africa into a suitable story outline, was given the assignment of writing the script for Tarzan The Ape Man, Hume’s original script had Trader Horn leading an expedition to Africa to search for a lost tribe. En route, they discover Tarzan, who kidnaps the woman scientist member of the safari. She eventually returns to the safari and they are captured by the tribe they seek (who worship the moon), and are to be human sacrifices to a sacred gorilla. Tarzan leading a pack of elephants, arrives in time to save the safari. The woman scientist decides to stay with Tarzan while Trader Horn and his party return to the trading post.
This script may give some idea of how conventional Hollywood minds viewed both Horn and Tarzan. Apparently the relationship between th two was very close in their minds. This script leaves little room for the development of the Tarzan yell while it gives the feel of making Tarzan a subordinate character to Horn. Tarzan might or might not have been a part of the next Horn movie. If MGM continued to use Harry Carey in the Horn role he may very likely have had a stronger film presence than Tarzan who, one imagines would still have been portrayed as a feral boy as he essentially was in Tarzan, The Ape Man.
It would be interesting to know when MGM decided to film a Tarzan movie and in what connection to Trader Horn. The success of Horn may have prodded them but one is astonished at the speed at which the project was conceived and executed especially as we are led to believe that they had no actor to play Tarzan in mind when the contract with ERB was signed.
As Leopard Men was probably not even fully conceived in ERB’s mind when he signed it could have had no effect on the signing. The release of Tarzan, The Ape Man in 1932 did have an effect on Burroughs. After writing Tarzan And the City Of Gold from November of 1931 to January of 1932 he was stunned by the MGM characterization of his great creation.
That shock resulted in early 1933′s novel Tarzan And The Lion Man.
As influential as Horn was for the main frame of the story of Leopard Men ERB had all his usual themes and variations to employ which he lavishly did. This is a very dark story that I do not fully understand. The Trader Horn connection was the easy part. Now to the hard stuff.
September 20, 2011
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS VS. THE COMIC BOOK HEROES
In the attempt to put together a historical puzzle the missing piece or pieces, the clarifying pieces, appear from time to time. Thus with the release of the movie, Captain America this year a significant piece of the puzzle falls into place that clarifies the role of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his literary creations in the panorama of the twentieth century- the fabulous twentieth century.
It is difficult today to conceive of how the early twentieth century was perceived as a complete break with the Victorian nineteenth. One only has to compare the streamlined Santa Fe Chief in this picture alongside a nineteenth century locomotive to see how the Twentieth Century was perceived as the century of absolute exciting progress. The time certainly justified General Electric’s motto: Progress is our most important product.
Burroughs role in this fabulous century is essentially the story of how Edgar Rice Burroughs created the concept of the super hero on the cusp of the emergent movie and comic book industries. It is in the latter two industries that the super hero found his definition.
Just as in the days of yore mankind projected its needs in the psychological projection of Gods so the twentieth century saw the beginning of the demise of the old gods and the birth of the new. While the creators of the Old Gods have disappeared into the mists of time, and there must have been human creators of the Gods, the creators of the new gods can be easily traced.
The predecessors of the Superheroes can be found in the rise of the mega intellects of the nineteenth century detectives such as Monsieur LeCoq, Sherlock Holmes and arch fiends such as Dr. Moriarty and the French Fantomas. Influenced by such as these Edgar Rice Burroughs created the actual prototypes of the mid-century superheroes in the characters of John Carter of Mars and Tarzan The Ape Man. While John Carter is less well known than Tarzan, who became a household word within a half dozen years of his creation, Carter truly had super human powers having been transported from the higher gravity of Earth to the lower gravitational field of Mars, or Barsoom, as Burroughs renamed the planet.
While not able to leap over tall buildings his saltational powers functioned at a level of efficiency unattained by any other Barsoomian. For a decade or so Burroughs had the superhero field to himself while his lessons sunk in to the minds of those following him.
The two most significant men of extraordinary if not super human powers to follow Tarzan and John Carter were Maxwell Grant’s superb character, The Shadow and Lester Dent’s Doc Savage. Preceding the comic book character Superman by a few years Doc Savage was actually advertised as a superman, undoubtedly in reference to Nietzsche.
Then in the early thirties in addition to movies, in which Tarzan was a stellar attraction, the modern comic book or magazine came into existence. Of course newspaper comic strips had been developing from the turn of the century but the actual comic book was a development of the thirties.
As fate would have it the comic book industry like the movie industry became a province of the Jews.
Thus two streams of influence formed comic book heroes. On the one hand the Jewish writers and cartoonists were influenced by John Carter, Tarzan, The Shadow, and Doc Savage and on the other by a fifteenth century Jewish super creature known as the Golem. This was a creature fashioned from clay, as per Adam of the Old Testament, by a Prague Rabbi named Loewe who breathed life into his creation as God had breathed life into Adam. The Golem was created to wreak vengeance on Jewish victims as a sort of avenger as would be the status and role of the latter day Jewish superheroes of the comic books.
First out of the box in 1938 was the prototype of the rest of the comic book heroes, Superman. Like Burroughs with his creations the two Jewish creators built Superman’s origins from the Biblical story of the Exodus. Tarzan of course was born to noble English parents in Darkest Africa who then died or were killed by the Great Apes while the she ape, Kala, snatched him from the cradle and raised him as an ape.
Superman was born of noble parents on the planet Krypton which was about to be destroyed, and sent on a rocket ship to Earth while his parents died. On Earth he was raised by kindly goy Earth people. Thus we have two different versions of Moses in the bullrushes. Superman, then, combined John Carter and Tarzan.
Superman was a good thing in commercial terms being the equivalent of a literary best seller. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so that while Superman imitated Burroughs’ great characters a host of comic book superheroes soon trod in Superman’s footsteps. Next in 1939 there was Batman, probably the most successful of the Jewish superheroes, and then in 1940 the temporarily successful Captain America, really the product of WWII, losing his popularity with the end of the war. The most successful of all the superheroes was the strange goyish creation, Capt. Marvel but he doesn’t concern us here.
The above is very interesting I’m sure but what significance does it have; what is its meaning; what is going on? Well, the back story is very interesting indeed. One must remember that our lives are not lived in a social vacuum of unrelated incidents. All is part of a continuum that does not just happen but is created by the participants. All is a drive to attain a desire. The question is who are the participants? As has already been indicated, the Jews and the Gentiles or goyim. From what do those desires arise? Suggestion. Suggestions having been received, when a body of suggestions have been ingested, our minds begin to digest those suggestions. One then interprets the suggested reality according to one’s temperament which itself has been built on a body of suggestions.
All society is education, indoctrination and conditioning, in other words hypnotic suggestion. Burroughs was born in 1875 as the scientific revolution was in an advanced stage of development; by 1893 when Burroughs was seventeen the whole of human knowledge and scientific advances was put on exhibition at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. The Expo was probably the high water mark in Western Civilization or, at least, its confidence in itself. The Expo was an unparalleled achievement of human endeavor far surpassing all expos of the nineteenth century with the possible exception of the 1851 London Exposition. Interestingly both were burned to the ground by anti-civilization elements. The Columbian Expo of 1893 was the most powerful element of Burroughs’ education.
Shortly before the boy’s birth in 1875 the character of immigration changed. In 1871 Jews from the eastern European Pale of Settlement began to flood the country until in 1914 possibly half of European Jewry had been transferred to the United States. The great immigration myth is that the immigrants were assimilated into the ‘Melting Pot’ of the United States; nothing could be further from the truth. The immigrants merely transferred their national cultures to the United States where because they were compelled to speak English it appeared that they had been assimilated. In reality the immigrants came to the sparsely populated United States where they established an outremer population on the New Island as the Irish had it, a new Sicily, a new Zion etc. They came in such numbers that they actually were colonists. The old cultures were merely adapted to the new realities and developed along side the Native peoples.
These alien or invading cultures then shaped the development of the United States in their image as much as possible. Thus they were able to blame their cultural shortcomings on ‘America’ while emphasizing their virtues as their own. Hence ‘America’ developed into a sort of dirty word, a catchall for the crimes of the immigrant cultures. This state of affairs was masked until the Great War when the social conflicts came into the open and were immediately subsumed into the Communist ideology after 1917.
Young Burroughs observed this immigration phenomenon or suggestion with misgivings associating himself with Nativist views although he remained independent to our knowledge of association with Nativist organizations. Thus while interpretations of these social suggestions are found through out his early writings the conflict didn’t come to a head until after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in what became the USSR as Russia disappeared from the map. With all the national dissidents operating under the rubric of Communism the world was divided into us and them- ostensibly Communism and Capitalism. The dichotomy was created by the Communists. However each national culture could function with representatives in each camp while furthering their parochial objectives.
It was a new world the morning after the Bolshevik Revolution. Burroughs immediately came into collision with the new realities. As this new world was us and them it was possible to hate Communism while retaining virtue in the Capitalist camp. However one couldn’t detest national, religious or racial components even though they may have been Communists. As Communists always denied being Communists one was always dealing with cultural groups that dissembled their Communism.
When Burroughs began his career in literature even as he wrote the movies began to assume a transcendent place in US and world culture. By the end of the second decade it was evident that movies were where the big money was. That’s when Burroughs’ troubles began.
He quickly ran afoul of the Communists who controlled publishing and the Jews who controlled the movies. The Communists wished to suppress all non-Communist writers who refused to put out the Communist message. The Jews wished to discourage all criticism of their activities. Burroughs was marked out as one to be destroyed.
Behind the Communist outrage and obscured by it was the Jewish attempt to realize the Messianic age which assault was begun in Europe and the United States in 1913 and was to continue to 1928 according to Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. While the assault was violent in Europe emanating from the transformation of Russia to the USSR, in the United States it was more peaceable after the violent year of 1919 while being conducted on a propagandistic and social level buttressed by the doctrines of Sigmund Freud as executed by his nephew and disciple Edward L. Bernays and others. You should become acquainted with Edward Bernays if you aren’t already.
Among the first of these propagandistic efforts was the promulgation of a ‘Jewish Bill Of Rights.’ This document along with a questionnaire was sent to the prominent men and women of America to discover their ‘anti-Semitic’ propensities. Burroughs failed this test so that he was black balled in Hollywood after 1922. The blacklist was broken by Joseph Kennedy and his FBO Studios in 1928. MGM then stepped in with a different approach from blacklisting. They bought the movie rights to Tarzan from Burroughs for much less than a song. Burroughs then was essentially neutralized in 1931 while MGM acquired the supreme super hero Tarzan to shape or mishape as they pleased. Within a few years there were not many who remembered that there was a literary Tarzan. My amazement when I learned there were Tarzan books when I was twelve in 1950 was a revelation of the first order.
The movies were able, of course, to shape all the goy literary heroes from Frankenstein to Sherlock Holmes into their own intellectual mold from then into the present while comic books added Jewish superheroes to displace them.
The planned Jewish revolution hadn’t succeeded by 1928 but the groundwork had been laid leaving the future promising and open. While in the US the Jews were able to sweep all opposition aside even to the extent of putting their creature, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, into the White House for an unprecedented four terms, in Europe unexpected opposition occurred when Wolf Hitler was elected chancellor of German in 1933. While having their creatures Joseph Stalin as Premier of the USSR and FDR in the USA with Popular Front governments if office throughout Europe with the exception of Germany, Italy and Spain, the Jews seemed to be in a position to realize their millennium.
Indoctrination and conditioning was still important in the US thus when sound movies were introduced at the very end of the twenties and the comic book in the early thirties the Jews had two of the most powerful propaganda tools available under their ownership and control.
Their need in the thirties was to isolate and marginalize the Nativist opposition. This would be achieved in the forties wartime conditions when FDR had the prominent Nativists arrested and charged with sedition. At that point the Jews had succeeded in capturing the government and mind of the country although a long mopping up process would be necessary into the fifties and sixties. Thus while Wolf Hitler rounded up Jews in Europe, Jews were rounding up Nativists Americans in the US while advising any dissidents to keep their heads low.
The movies and comic books would play a big role in indoctrinating Americans to believe that the Nativists were Fascists and/or Nazis and not true Americans. It was at this time that Edward L. Bernays succeeded in changing the definition of Democracy from that of individual opportunity to recognition of groups having rights to a share of government based on group identity rather than individual identity. This would be a key concept as the century developed.
After the Bolshevik Revolution the American reaction to Communism was strongly against it. The Communist Party was even outlawed for a time until the Fellow Travelers and Parlor Pinks had the ban lifted. The silent movies of the twenties then were not heavily influenced by the Reds although as indicated the Tarzan movies of Edgar Rice Burroughs were blacklisted. By the thirties the Reds were better organized while with the arrival of sound playwrights capable of producing dialog were needed. The Red exodus to Hollywood began.
The US Communist Party as with all national Communist Parties, was a majority or plurality Jewish affair to the point where an attack on one was an attack on the other. Thus as the thirties advanced the drum roll for US involvement in a war against the Nazis began. This would involve the formation in the US of an opposition led by the America First Committee which was opposed to any involvement in foreign wars as a reaction. As this was opposed to Jewish wishes the America First Committee was designated as Fascist while its putative leader, Charles Lindbergh was designated Hitler’s stooge.
In order to discredit the opposition, no sooner was FDR sworn in than Samuel Dickstein, a Jewish representative from New York, began to agitate for a House Un-American Activities Committee to stamp out Nativist opposition. As Dickstein was a Soviet agent this meant that the Nativist opposition was un-American while the Jewish Roosevelt government were the true Americans. So, the Jews were well on the way to usurping the American identity which the comic book superheroes represented. Dickstein was successful in establishing his HUAC committee in 1938 but the chair eluded him and went to a real American, Martin Dies of Texas, who then used the committee to harass Communists as well as ‘Fascists’ much to the dismay of Dickstein and FDR.
Hollywood in support of Dickstein began turning out anti-German movies and by implication anti-Nativist well in advance of American involvement in 1942. Involvement in the European conflict was of course brought about by forcing Japan to declare war on the US in late ‘41.
The comic book industry forming about 1932 was becoming real by 1938 when the two Jews from Cleveland devised their Golem character Superman followed by Batman and Captain America. The comic book heroes fell in with the anti-German propaganda. If the Jews, British and FDR were not yet openly promoting the war against Germany the tendency was well formed in that direction.
All those comics were openly anti- German with Capt. America socking Hitler on the cover of the first issue. Capt. America was a creation of two Jews from Brooklyn, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. To quote the Rabbi Simcha Weinstein from his book Up, Up, And Oy Vey!: How Jewish Culture And Values Shaped The Comic Book Superhero:
Kirby and his partner, Joe Simon, worked at Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics, where the mostly Jewish staff openly despised Hitler. When Goodman saw the preliminary sketches for Captain America, he immediately gave Kirby and Simon their own comic book. The character was an instant hit, selling almost one million copies an issue. “The U.S. hadn’t yet entered the war when Jack and I did Captain America, so maybe he was our way of lashing out at the Nazi menace. Evidently, Captain America symbolized the American people’s sentiments. When we were producing Captain America we were outselling Batman, Superman and all the others.” Simon later commented.
Well, not quite all the others, as Whiz Comics Captain Marvel was the best selling comic of both the war years and later forties. Certainly my favorite. As in the years before the war the America First Committee enjoyed overwhelming popularity amongst ‘Americans’ I would question Simon’s notion that Captain America overwhelmingly represented American opinion. As there were six million Jewish ‘Americans’ in the country I might suggest that the response from that culture of ‘Americans’ was more overwhelming than elsewhere. Jews might easily have accounted for sixty to eighty percent of sales.
It is also probable that no real American would ever have invented a corny jingoistic persona like Captain America, in fact, none did. The image was certainly repulsive to me as a child. My prime comic reading years were from 1947 to 1950 and I and my entire generation rejected Captain America while embracing Captain Marvel. Even then Superman was a distant competitor to Captain Marvel which is why DC comics sued Whiz for copyright violation.
All the Jewish comics were openly anti-German, thus the FDR administration, the movies and comic books were fighting for the Jewish ‘good war.’ When Charles Lindbergh pointed this out he was immediately portrayed as an agent of the Nazis whereas he was merely telling the truth while being an ideal American. Philip Roth in his 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, recounts the Jewish atmosphere of the time while he postulates that Lindbergh was elected president in 1940 as a satrap of Hitler. Thus the Jews became the real Americans and the real Americans were totalitarians out to destroy the Democracy the Jews had created.
In his essay in the New York Times of 9/19/04 titled: The Story Behind The Plot Against America Roth says that he is recreating America as it really was in 1940 but that is not so. As Roth lived in a New Jersey Jewish colony he and his family was out of touch with the real America as his fictional brother who had gone to Kentucky tries to tell him.
In fact in the America of the time in which Samuel Dickstein was an evil presence the American Jewish Committee and The Anti Defamation League were paramilitary organizations conducting spying operations against the non-Jewish public. Numerous agents unaffiliated with any government agency crisscrossed society looking for any activity that might be considered against Jewish interests. These forays were gathered together in 1943 under the assumed name of John Roy Carlson and published as an indictment against Jewish ‘enemies.’ Many of them were arrested and tried as ‘un-Americans in 1944. So, Roth’s paranoia is at best unbalanced.
Roth says the idea of Lindbergh’s having been elected occured to him while reading Arthur Schlesinger’s autobiography:
I came upon a sentence in which Schlesinger notes that there were some Republican isolationists who wanted to run Lindbergh for president in 1940. That’s all there was, that one sentence with its reference to Lindbergh and to a fact about him I’d not known. It made me think, “What if they had?” and I wrote the question in the margin.
While this may be how Roth came upon the notion his was not the first such idea. As Paul Buhle and Dave Wagner in their Radical Hollywood of 2002 point out, Donald Ogden Stewart in his script for 1943’s Keeper Of The Flame, Charles Lindbergh is posited as a plotter of a coup to replace FDR in alliance with Hitler. This would have been propaganda to indict Lindbergh for the upcoming trial of the Nativists. I don’t know whether Roth saw the movie as a boy but if he did perhaps the idea festered in his brain for several decades until he was reminded by Schlesinger’s book while his mind was half prepared.
So the actual plot of the Jews to take over the American government was displaced to Lindbergh and the Nativists. The Jewish coup was represented in the comic book character of Captain America. This situation is made clear in the current (2011) movie Capt. America: The First Avenger. Thus Philip Roth and Stan Lee of the comics recapitulate and clarify Jewish activities in the 1933-43 era. Captain America is actually Jewish assuming an ultimate American identity.
The origins of Captain America then emanated from the Jewish dream subconscious of Jack Kirby which was quite different form real Americans. He therefore, as all writers must, made Capt. America in his comic book existence from his own dream fantasies. Thus giving his creation the goy name of Steve Rogers he nevertheless gave him a Brooklyn Jewish origin. As Rabbi Weinstein also a Brooklyn Jew explains, Jews have a sort of dual identity as powerless Jews posing as goys in a powerful goy world. Thus the sickly ineffective Rogers undergoes a scientific experiment that turns him essentially from a 98 lb. weakling into an all powerful goy Charles Atlas without the hard work of body building. I’m sure Kirby saw those ads growing up.
Rogers having now been turned into a Superman had to have a name. Superman being taken Super Jew was out for obvious reasons, or even Super Hebrew, there was no Israel at the time, so Kirby settled on Captain America. Rabbi Weinstein again:
Of course a more literal reading of the costume is that it is the American flag brought to life. Captain America’s star is, after all, five pointed, not six pointed like the Star of David. The flag-as-costume [this is what used to make we boys puke] notion reinforces the ideal of assimilation [Jews ‘becoming’ Americans.] By literally cloaking their character in patriotism, Kirby and Simon became true Americans.
In 1940 there was a desperate struggle going on between the Jews and America First who the Jews styled as American Fascists, I.e. actual Hitlerites. By that line of reasoning the Jews became the true Americans, creators and protectors of genuine American Democracy while Anglo-Americans or Native Americans or America Firsters were out to destroy the great American Dream the Jews had created. This is the theme of Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America backdated to this period. The current movie Captain America could easily be subtitled The Plot Against America Foiled.
Rabbi Weinstein again:
Despite the patriotic appearance, Captain America’s costume also denotes deeply rooted [Jewish] tradition. Along with other Jewish-penned superheroes, Captain America was in part an allusion to the golem, the legendary creature said to have been constructed by the sixteenth century mystic Rabbi Judah Loew to defend the Jews of medieval Prague. “The golem was pretty much the precursor of the Superhero in that in every society there is a need for mythological characters, wish fulfillment. And the wish fulfillment in the Jewish case of the hero would be someone who could protect us. This kind of storytelling seems to dominate in Jewish culture,” commented Will Eisner.
According to tradition a golem is sustained by inscribing the Hebrew word emet (truth) upon its forehead. When the first letter is removed, leaving the word met (death) the golem will be destroyed. Emet is spelled with the letters aleph, rem and tav. The first letter, aleph, is also the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the equivalent of the letter A. Captain America wears a mask with a white A on his forehead- the very letter needed to empower the golem.
I hope this makes clear that Superman, Batman and Captain America are Jewish in identity and what their purpose is in American society.
Having created a competing line of Jewish superheroes the problem then became how to discredit and supplant the goy super heroes. As should be clear by now what we have going on is a religious war but fought by propagandistic means. In other words the battle field was literature, comic books and the movies. As in all religious conflicts the goal is to displace the religious icons of the other; thus, in early Christian times churches were built on the sites of pagan temples while sacred groves were cut down. Nothing has changed; nothing can change. The Jewish goal was the elimination of ‘Christian’ or goy symbols.
Capt. Marvel was gotten rid of in 1953 when the Jews sued him out of his cape. As I’ve pointed out in my review of Tarzan And The Lion Man, parts 8,9.10, a key text in this colossal battle, MGM attempted to destroy the character as well as Burroughs when they bought movie rights to Tarzan in 1931. They got his birthright for a mess of pottage. It may be coincidental but in 1942 after the success of the Jewish comic book super heroes MGM discarded their lucrative rights to Tarzan to movie maker Sol Lesser presumably as worthless or, at least, of no more interest to them. Of course Lesser continued the franchise with phenomenal success. This necessitated a continued campaign to debase the character continuing today. At the same time that Tarzan is debased the Jewish characters, Capt. America is now one of a group of four ‘Avengers’, hence the double entendre of ‘The First Avenger’, who are increasingly Judaisized, while presented in a positive way in the attempt to marginalize Tarzan.
Now, some seventy years after the demise of the man, the continued demonization of Wolf Hitler is becoming less relevant, even annoying if you’re not Jewish, so in Capt. America Wolf Hitler is demoted to an incompetent dead threat while the scepter is passed to the mega Nazi/anti-Semite recreated in the mental projection of Red Skull or the Hydra. The mythical symbol of the Hydra is well chosen to represent anti-Semitism as no matter how many heads you cut off another one, two or three grow back. The threat never ends and the paranoia is justified.
Thus in the Freudian sense Jews have a dual personality: on the one hand you have the ineffective completely innocent assumed goy persona of Steve Rogers, who is the equivalent of Abel, the Chosen one and the crazed madman Hydra who is a projection of the negative aspects of the Jewish character imposed on the other as the anti-Semite. Thus the Jewish character is always at war with itself in the Freudian sense and hence never successful in its aims.
August 8, 2011
A-Head Vs. The Hydra
A Review of Captain America,
The First Avenger
Weinstein, Rabbi Simcha: Up, Up And Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture And Values Shaped The Comic book Superhero, 2006, Leviathan Press.
Must a man be held responsible for his own dreams?
I set foot inside a theatre for the first time in twenty years lured by the comic book character of Captain America. Capt. America was about the least favorite of the superheroes for the post-war generation of kids. My primary years for comic books were 1947-50. I was revolted by the jingoism of the strip as well as the stupid costume
While Rabbi Weinstein touts the Jewish superheroes as seminal I should point out that our favorites and the best selling superhero during and after the war was the goy Captain Marvel, much more popular then even Superman. Further while superhero comics declined in sales after WWII I would suggest that it wasn’t loss of interest in the characters so much as a lack of interest in the material. If the comics had shifted from anti-Nazi to anti-Communist the sales might have become inflated. Of course such a shift was impossible as Communists were more or less in cultural control
This movie did nothing to refresh my memories pleasantly. And, further it turns out per Rabbi Weinstein that Captain America was 100% Jewish. Capt. America was the creation of two Jewish young men, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, assumed names of course. In keeping with that Kirby and Simon had their character socking Hitler on the jaw long before ‘America’ entered the war while being obsessed with Nazis so we may conclude along with the Rabbi that Capt. was indeed Jewish.
The movie purportedly takes place sometime during WWII. In this movie Hitler has been demoted to a minor threat as the super Nazi, The Hydra, has usurped his place while being immortal so that the Nazi threat can never die. In that case the Hydra must be on Steroids as Hitler was only fueled by amphetamines. Perhaps the A on America’s helmet stands for amphetamines and the Capt. was an a-head. Actually Capt. America’s striped mask or helmet has an A cut in the forehead which the Hydra slyly suggests stands for American arrogance. American arrogance came up two or three times.
So, essentially we have the Jewish Capt. America versus the arch-anti-Semite, the Hydra. It doesn’t stop there though as Hydra appears to be an alter-ego of the Jews. America, as they like to think of themselves and Hydra as they often behave. If you were to read Rabbi Weinstein before you saw the movie it would take on a whole different aspect and signficance.
The story itself is trite with no attempt at believability, after all this is a comic book. It is actually quite camped up. All action with a lot of slap bang stuff, stock characters and horrendous noise effects at a mind numbing volume.
Even though Capt. America crashes Hydra’s flying wing into an ice field at the North Pole Capt. America wakes up seventy years later in a New York CIA facility. Well, Christ, it is a comic book, I had already insulted my own intelligence by buying a ticket. Still, I think Stan Lee should be more than a little ashamed of himself.
Two stars if you’re mentally alert; four stars if you like noise and fireworks, five stars if this is your kind of movie. Pretty dumb in my book.
August 5, 2011
Themes And Variations
The Tarzan Novels Of Edgar Rice Burroughs
#15 Tarzan Triumphant
Threads And Strands Of The Web
For I must speak what wisdom would conceal,
And truth, invidious to the great, reveal.
More than likely it is a coincidence that Burroughs wrote a fictional account of time and space weaving a web at this time, for Fate was bringing together threads and strands of the web of his own life in a picture of unparalleled opportunity and deadly peril. The decisions Burroughs would make would determine the outcome. His life could have gone another way. Or, perhaps, Burroughs sensed the impending crises and fictioned them in an attempt to deal with them.
We are already aware of the conflicts with the Judaeo-Communists. It seems clear that they were the original aggressors and that Burroughs was in reaction to them, in other words, on the defensive. Thus these first two Tarzan novels of the thirties are direct attacks on both aggressors. If Burroughs expected counter attacks there seems to be no evidence that he prepared for them. He never seems to have sat down to coolly analyze the problem in order to have a plan.
In fact, there seems to be little evidence that he ever actually realized the consequences of his success or how to handle it. While he had incorporated himself he made no effort to corporately structure his writing enterprise. In point of fact as a creative artist he was fundamentally incapable of running a structured business. Doing so would have interfered with his creative function. In fact, I am convinced that he dissipated his creative energies by becoming involved in business decisions to the extent he did.
Developing an organization is very difficult. While he should have done this, without a very fortuitous combination of circumstances it is very doubtful he could have. Hollywood was full of sharpers ready to take advantage of creative talent and in this case and nearly all others they did.
On the positive side, from 1911 to, say, 1928 ERB had created an unparalleled intellectual property in Tarzan. One in a zillion chance. As the twenties developed unparalleled opportunities to exploit the property evolved.
Apart from publishing, the three key profit centers were comics, movies and radio. All three strands came to fruition as the thirties began. Each required a slightly different approach. Each required thinking out with an intellectual departure from the past.
At this crucial moment ERB’s past arose to drag him down from behind. He was unable to make the emotional transition from what was essentially an emotionally battered youth to a successful, affluent man in control of his destiny. He remained psychologically attached to his personal relationship to Tarzan as an aspect of his personality rather than objectifying the character as a psychological projection for the world. He had prepared the way to make Tarzan a savior man-god but then couldn’t separate him from his own personality. If Fate had thrown the right people in his way they could have done this for him.
Thus rather than maximize his financial returns he essentially shot his feet off. He carped at the various media companies to the point where he was viewed as troublesome, an undesirable actually. Thus while he expected great financial returns including the means to buy a yacht, he sabotaged his own efforts to obtain them.
He belittled the returns of the comic strip for instance, bemoaning that it only returned thirty dollars a day. Well, that was eleven thousand dollars a year, every year. He could count on it. His MGM contract for Tarzan, The Ape Man provided him the exact same return. Twenty-two thousand divided by two years is eleven thousand a year.
At the time ERB signed the MGM contract he had a very valuable intellectual property already fully developed but he had developed a reputation among the Studios. The Studios had already had extensive dealings with him from the silent era. ERB, without a plan to market Tarzan had accepted whatever money came his way. Two of his titles had been sold in 1921 although production of them had been shelved. In 1927 FBO Studios decided to film Tarzan And The Golden Lion. While this film was lost for decades a print of the film was discovered which was issued on DVD in 2006 so that it can now be viewed.
In my opinion FBO did handsomely by ERB. A good clear scenario was written by William Wing that remained true to the spirit of Burroughs’ work; perhaps more than it ought to have in a movie sense. The filming, the photography is terrific; it has never been done better, not by MGM, not by RKO. It is true that Wing invented a sister for Tarzan but this is a minor point.
I find it difficult to undertand what ERB was disgruntled about except that another writer was handling his alter ego. The difference between a movie scenario and a book is very distinct. There would have been no way to get the entire convoluted story of Golden Lion on the screen so Wing wisely chose to develop a variation on the story of the Valley of Diamonds. Even so he threw in an earthquake scene a la Jewels Of Opar and Tarzan’s jumping the gap in the tunnel.
If anything his attempt to write as closely to Burroughs as he did lessened the impact of the film with some needless clutter. If, in 1935′s New Adventures Of Tarzan for which Burroughs provided the story idea, Dearholt attempted to tell the story more or less as Burroughs wrote, then the result was a hopeless mish mash. The movie was no truer to Burroughs’ Tarzan than FBO’s film, while lacking the clarity and force of the latter. Burroughs should have been grateful to FBO for an excellent movie. My idea of the best of the lot even though silent.
Had I been associated with FBO I would have found ERB’s criticisms nitpicking and offensive. After all FBO broke the boycott ERB had been under since 1922. The FBO movie triggered a response from Universal which held the rights to Jungle Tales and Jewels Of Opar. These titles were released as Tarzan The Mighty and Tarzan The Tiger starring Frank Merrill. At present there is no print of Tarzan The Mighty while as of December 5, 2006 I am still awaiting the release of Tarzan The Tiger. ERB once again was unhappy with these films, voicing loud complaints. All this carping could have done little for his reputation among the Studios. Before the long hiatus of Tarzan movies from 1921 to 1927 he had been run off the lot during the filming.
According to the ERBzine Timeline for the ’30s ERB approached MGM in 1930 asking $75,000 for a movie and was rebuffed. If this is true, $22,000 in 1931 was quite a comedown. MGM solved ERB’s querulousness by obtaining the rights to do with the character as they wished. They promptly disdained Burrughs’ storylines for their own while changing the character of Tarzan from that of an international sophisticate to that of a feral boy.
As the first full sound Tarzan, MGM hit the jackpot with the victory cry of the bull ape. The Tarzan yell would be the trademark of the charcter, although hardly a blood chilling fearsome holler. Burroughs himself couldn’t do better as Herman Brix in New Adventures merely growls out a long drawn Tar-man-gan-eee with the last sylable in falsetto. More laughable than fearsome.
In between these two films Sol Lesser released a monstrosity starring Buster Crabbe. Lesser never got the handle on Tarzan on his own, instead borrowing the MGM Characterization when he acquired the rights from them.
Lesser and his brother Irving were independent producers of some substance. Sol was born in 1890 in Spokane, Washington, dying at 90 in 1980. There is even a biography of his life. Not easy to find and not available on any site when I looked. If anybody knows where one is or having one could make a copy for me it would be much appreciated.
Lesser’s father who was in the nickelodeon business died in 1907 in San Francisco leaving the business to Sol and brother Irving. Sol got involved in distribution in 1910 eventually forming the Golden Gate Film Exchange in 1915.
In that year San Francisco’s infamous Barbary Coast was shuttered. Before the closure Lesser filmed the area, selling the movie. It would be interesting if the film was still around.
He made the right moves. After distribution he became a producer for First National and then formed a chain of movie theatres. After an aborted retirement he reentered production forming his own independent studio called either Principle or Principal Pictures. David Fury spells the name Principal in his Kings Of The Jungle and that sounds right. This was apparently Sol’s status when he acquired the rights to Tarzan from a third party in 1928 and when he made the Crabbe abortion in 1933.
Lesser was influential in Hollywood. He made it a point to know and be known. In the early thirties it was he who was responsible for introducing Disney to Joseph Schench (pronounced Skenk) and facilitating Disney’s move from Columbia to United Artists.
One can’t be sure of his politics from the sources cited but according to the New York Times:
…Lesser forsook production for distribution again, returning to the creative end of moviemaking in 1931 when, through is friendshlip with writer Upton Sinclair, he became involved with the Sergei Eisenstein project, Thunder Over Mexico.
Thunder Over Mexico was undoubtedly a Communist diatribe. Sol Lesser while involved with consevatives like Disney and Burroughs, also played the other side of the street with the likes of Upton Sinclair and the Jewish film maker, Sergei Eisenstein of Battleship Potemkin fame.
It would seem probable that he at least knew such luminaries as Louis B. Mayer and possibly Irving Thalberg. Even though he could have foiled both Burroughs and MGM with his prior rights to Tarzan, he characteristically stepped aside, for remuneration of course, to let their films play through. It would be interesting to know how and why he obtained his rights from a third party and how they had obtained theirs.
One doesn’t know what his relationship to Mayer and MGM was at this time but it is noteworthy that he acquired exclusive rights to Tarzan when MGM abandoned the profitable series. Under Lesser the movies continued to gross two to three million a picture.
Sound movies should have been a gold mine for Burroughs if he had handled himself properly. Instead through his impulsiveness and vanity there were at least four competing Tarzans on the screens from 1930 to 1935. This must have created confusion in the public’s mind, while injuring Burroughs’ financial returns.
At the time sound brought the potential of immense movie profits to Burroughs the thread of radio also came to maturity about 1930. While the evangelists were quick to capitalize on the potential of radio, Burroughs wasn’t far behind. Perhaps the success of Aimee Semple Mcpherson showed him the way.
As the decade dawned, his eye turned in radio’s direction. By 1932 he was successful in launching a show. Once again ERB failed to analyze the difference between books and a new medium. Radio was for him the most lucrative of all his ventures. His revenues from radio equaled his income from all other sources combined. This income stream could have continued unabated through the thirties but, once again, ERB interfered with the show rather than contributed. Undoubtedly because of his constant carping the first series was not renewed. A second series was launched which was also discontinued. From 1935 until his death he was unable to get on radio again. After his death in 1950 a new series was launched.
Thus, between publishing, comics, movies and radio ERB was provided opportunities to exploit his great labor in creating the ultimate intellectual property of the twentieth century and blew it. The personality forming psychology of his youth popped up to prevent his realizing his most cherished dreams in this sphere of his life as it did in his relationship to women.
If ERB had read his Homer at some earlier time, or possibly, earlier times in his life, it seems evident that he reread the Odyssey, for sure, at this time. The evidence is prominent in these five novels, especially Triumphant and City Of Gold. A text in all five novels is the struggle between the La aspect of his Anima and that of Jane. Subconsciously he had steered his love life to this critical juncture where he would have to choose one and reject the other.
There may have been a fortuitousness in his choosing to concentrate on his own Odyssey at this time. He was able to capitalize on a number of good story ideas, while on the other hand a major story line of the Odyssey is the examination of a man’s control of his sexual desires. A key story of this aspect is the story of the seductress Circe. By inducing all men to abandon themselves to unbridled sexual desire she turns them all into pigs. A lesson for contemporary times. Odysseus avoids this by having a pocketful of Moly. Moly is some sort of charm that allows him to resist Circe’s seductions.
Thus Odysseus retains his manly integrity while securing the release of his crew. The Sirens, Calypso and the other women are all temptations for Odysseus to abandon his manhood for the luxuries of sex or in other word, the Matriarchy. He resists them all to return home to Penelope in Ithaca where she sits lonely endlessly weaving her web.
One can’t know directly how Burroughs read the story or even if the above details registered with him; nevertheless these five novels are about a man’s relationships with women and more specifically they concern the details of ERB’s relationships with women. The story as told by him is a troubled one.
It would appear that his cherished Anima image of the previous forty years or so, La of Opar, no longer answered his needs, so at the end of Invincible Tarzan abandons La of Opar. She and Opar disappear from the oeuvre never to be mentioned again.
In real life perhaps La has been replaced by Florence who now figures as the Golden Girl. With the appearance of Jezebel in Triumphant the Golden Girl makes her first appearance to dominate the stage until Lion Man and the end of this five novel series.
In Triumphant the Jane aspect which has been missing for the last couple novels parachutes back into ERB’s life. He marries her off to the stable aspect of his Animus while pairing the Golden Girl with the low life aspect of his Animus.
Emma had always said ERB was a low brow so perhaps he found it too unpleasant aping high brow manners giving up the fight to indulge that aspect of his Animus more comfortable to him.
In this struggle Florence had been removed from the scene. Back during the writing of this novel Burroughs quickly opted to join his low life aspect with his sexual desire for the Golden Girl. His Moly gave out on him. Thus Danny ‘Gunner’ Patrick is transformed into Old Timer of Leopard Man while Jezebel becomes the platinum blonde, Kali Bwana.
Having made the decision to take the Golden Girl he has to eliminate the Jane aspect which he does in City Of Gold. Perhaps wavering a trifle in Lion Man he seems to have created a type of middle Tarzan Anima figure in Rhonda Terry. While he rejects Naomi/Jane he seems to have misgivings about Balza/Florence as the Golden Girl.
But, by this time the die had been cast so that in real life he does leave Emma to begin his life with Florence as a born again sex hound. As Old Timer in Leopard Men he says he was entitled to some pleasure in life and by God he was going to take it.
So, in both his business life and his personal life his past rose up and bit him in the behind destroying any chance he had to realize his true desires. I’m afraid I have to look at the remainder of his life as a failure as he was unable to eliminate the psychological impediments placed in his way by his early life. Not that he didn’t try. He appears to have studied psychology trying to find a way through to the other side of the maze of consciousness. Thus we have the subterranean passages too dark for anyone to find their way, yet his characters do. As he searches for a way out, the past rises up in the shape of deformed monsters like the Oparians beneath the Sacred City.
Or the round about way Tarzan and La found their way out of the lion cage in Invincible to be betrayed by the Old Man who professed to be true to La. Who was the Old Man? The shade of the past? David Adams has brought emphasis to this scene in his review of “The Ancient Dead of the City of Horz,” itself a dead city on the shores of a dead sea in Burroughs Bulletin #68.
By the writing of The Ancient Dead, ERB no longer had any hope to escape his past, while at the same time it was too late.
So, as the matter turned out, this period from 1930 to 1934 was the final crucial period in ERB’s life where he could have taken control of his destiny. He apparently sensed that the threads and strands of the web of his life were being brought together by Fate.
I neither condemn nor advise, unlike the literary fashion of today. I assume no superior airs, nor do I have a right to do so, but the fact is that had he been able to control his sexuality while restraining his impulsiveness, Fate might have been kinder to him at this juncture. As he was unable to order his psychology Fate, as it were, laid him low.
The critical junctures were the impetuous signing with MGM, his abandonment of Emma and his mismanagement of his radio affairs.
I have now covered four of the five Tarzan novels of this period. The last, The City City Of Gold deals with his ferocious sexual needs that destroyed his chances for success.
May 8, 2011
Tarzan And The River
Edgar Rice Burroughs In Aspic
When ‘Omer smote his bloomin’ lyre,
He’d heard men sing by land and sea:
An’ what ‘e thought ‘e might require,
‘E went and took- the same as me!
The market-girls an’ fishermen,
The shepherds and the sailors, too,
They ‘eard old songs turn up again,
But kept it quiet- same as you!
They knew ‘e stole, ‘e knew they knowed,
They didn’t tell, nor make a fuss,
But winked at ‘Omer down the road.
An’ ’e winked back= the same as us.
I want a dream lover,
So I don’t have to dream alone.
First published in the Burroughs Bulletin
Spring 2003 issue.
As an author Edgar Rice Burroughs belongs to the generation of writers who wrote between the wars. He is or should be placed beside Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Aldous Huxley, P.G. Wodehouse, H.G. Wells, John Dos Passos and John Steinbeck, among others. Further, of all those authors ERB was the best selling writer in the entire world. His reign came to an end in 1939 and then only after his talent was dissipated. This is a remarkable achievement against some very qualified and important writers. One doesn ‘t often hear of Steinbeck societies. Hemingway or any of the others but Burroughs societies exist in many countries around the world.
I consider myself an intellectual and literary snob, yet I acknowledge ERB as important an intellectual and literary figure as any of the savants mentioned above. ERB did not parade his knowledge and savvy as most writers are wont to do. He incorporated a fairly deep understanding of many contemporary issues without a hint of the lamp. Tarzan Triumphant is a case in point. Obviously the two religious groups in the novel refer to Jews and Christians, but there is no reference to either sect. One is left to infer that the Old Testament crowd led by Abraham, son of Abraham, is of the Old Testament while their rivals are New Testament. In so far as ERB allows the story to involve religious discussion, the moral is ‘a pox on both your houses.’
Even more remarkable is that over the writing of the published twenty-one Tarzans before 1940 all the novels are interrelated. ERB was able to keep his Tarzan facts in order over a twenty-seven year period of writing while being involved in the writing of dozens of other books. In point of fact the Tarzan oeuvre is a roman a fleuve- a river novel.
A River novle is a series of novels which traces the course of a nation, people, a family or an an individual over a period of at least decades. The first novel ever written was a River novel, that was the story of the Greek invasion of Troy.
The two surviving complete books of this remakarble story are Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Moreover, many fragments exist predating the events of the Iliad and after.
Perhaps the most prodigious of all River novels is the Vulgate Lancelot chronicling the adventures of King Arthur and his knights. The story runs on for thousands of pages.
In modern times Alexander Dumas’ five volume epic concerning the adventures of the Three Musketeers constitute a River novel. Trollope wrote two, that of the Pallisers and the Barchester series. The model for the twentieth century was Remembrance Of Things Past by Marcel Proust.
Edgar Rice Burroughs has always been treated frivolously, yet the Tarzan oeuvre is a work of some magnitude which does not compare unfavorably with Proust.
Proust’s work looks backward as he relives his life trying to make order of his psychology. Burroughs’ Tarzan oeuvre records his psychological development on a current basis as it evolves year by year.
ERB’s work is characterized as imaginative fiction while Proust’s is considered realistic fiction. In other words, realistic fiction builds on real life experience in real life situations, while the imaginative writer is compelled to ‘invent’ incidents.
Thus while the realistic writer draws primarily from personal experience and observations, the imaginative writer has to draw from published sources of either fiction or nonfiction or convert real life experiences into symbolic form. The latter is more true of science and fantasy fiction. If the science fiction writers of the forties and fifties hadn’t had a couple thousand years of esoteric literature to draw on there would have been little science fiction. Of course the writers so disguise their sources that without an extensive education in esoteric writings oneself the stories seem incredibly original.
Borrowing from every source is extensive. For instance, Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is the same story as H.G. Wells’ Food Of The Gods with different detailing. Wells himself extrapolated his story farom Darwin’s Origin Of Species and The Descent Of Man. Darwin of course turned to nature, the ultimate source of suggestion, for his story.
That Burroughs borrowed extensively and sometimes blatantly is of little consequence, especially as his original contributions were so extensive and satisfying. As the opening poem by Kipling indicates, at least he was honest enough to admit of outside influences.
The Russian Quartet, or first four novels, is a tentative beginning to the Tarzan oeuvre. It is possible that the first novel, Tarzan Of The Apes, was just an attempt to express certain ideas about heredity and such related topics that ERB wanted to say with no thought of sequels. The story itself is absurd enough that it seems a miaracle that it was accepted and published. It is perhaps less surprising that it was so readily accepted by the reading public as the great figure of Tarzan rises shining from the pages. One ignores any story telling flaws to get a glimpse of the bronzed forest giant, the great Tarmangani, the jungle god, the Lord of the Jungle, Tarzan. A writer should be so lucky to come up with such an archetypal figure.
Return and Beasts find Burroughs groping for a direction. Beasts is is heavily influenced by H.M. Stanley’s writing on Africa as well as that of Mungo Park, not to mention Edgar Wallace’s Sanders Of The River. The story of Paulevitch’s experience in the jungle was obviously taken from Mungo Park’s Travels In The Interior Of Africa. Beasts itself which also has a lot of Defoe in it, is absurd to the extreme yet somehow redeems itself as one becomes entranced by the outrageous notion of apes and men row-row-rowing their boat down the stream. Somewhere either before the beginning of Beasts or after the end, ERB interweaves the story of Barney Custer and the Mad King and the Eternal Lover to bring his own psychology into the Tarzan character. Thus ERB pictures himself as the Son Of Tarzan in the novel of that name.
Having resolved, after a fashion, his conflicts with this father and somewhere in that tremendous gush of writing having integrated his personality, ERB then turns to himself as the conflicted Animus of Tarzan the Hero and Tarzan the Clown to resolve that psychological dilemma over the next seventeen volumes published during his lifetime.
The Russian Quartet was written over a period of three years. The eight novels between Son and Lost Empire were written over fourteen years. Whether the ‘Lost Empire’ refers to Emma and Opar is open to conjecture. In any event Lost Empire signifies a terminal junction in ERB’s psychology.
Then as the problems of his Animus and Anima resolve themselves ERB rapidly turns out six volumes over four years.
He had difficulty writing Tarzans while struggling with his psychology but wrote quickly once he had made up his mind.
From 1934 in psychologically related volumes to 1938 he published the three additional novels of Quest, Forbidden city and Magnificent. The psychologically relevant Madman was discovered and published in 1964, fourteen years after his death. Perhaps the thought the novel was too personal and painful to publish himself.
As noted “Foreign Legion’ is a propagandistic after thought to the oeuvre.
As ERB didn’t begin writing until he was thirty-six it is fair to say that his writing represents the effort of a mature mind. This is even more evident when one reflects that the majority of the Tarzan oeuvre was written between the ages of forty-one and fifty-eight. Lion Man, which is the culminating volume of ERB’s psychological odyssey was written at the last age.
The novels written between 1930 and 1934 which I consider excellent work and the best of the Tarzan oeuvre are the ones most often dismissed as repetitious. One of the very best, Tarzan And The Leopard Men, is, oddly enough, often dismissed as ‘hack work’. Very strange.
But to return to Opar and move forward from there. From 1912 or 1911 if you consider from the first moment ERB put pen to paper to 1915, things developed very rapidly in ERB’s mind. The rich experience of his lifetime, all his opinions, thoughts and fancies were so compressed within his skull that as I say he erupted with more than the force of Spindletop. It took him three years to cap that gusher and then the flow was strong and steady until 1934 when he realized himself.
Return was written in 1913 when his Anima, La of Opar, first pops up. She then disappears until 1916 when wife Emma apparently sneered at the wealth ERB had laid at her feet. She would not so soon forget the first twelve years of her humiliation.
Her rejection of ERB the Hero must have hurt Burroughs to the quick. Following Return he wrote The Mad King in which after numerous trials and tribulations and after he had disposed of Custer’s inept doppelganger, the Mad King, Barney Custer and the Princess Emma were reconciled. In all likelihood the story was a day-dream of wish fulfillment in the Freudian manner because in The Eternal Lover which followed quickly Barney Custer goes to Tarzan’s Equatorial estate but with his sister Victoria and not the ‘Princess Emma’. His marital relationship is obviously still very troubled. As noted, The Eternal Lover is a myth of the nature of Pysche and Eros, the Anima and Animus.
Interestingly, Boy Jack’s wife, which is to say ERB’s at the end of Son of Tarzan is no longer a princess but the daughter of a general. Emma had apparently been demoted in ERB’s emotions.
In a psychological quandary ERB has Tarzan leave Jane in 1916 to return to Opar and La for more gold to lay at Jane/Emma’s feet. This story is crucial for the rest of the oeuvre. ERB’s dream lover, La, spares his life and offers to marry him or in other words take him away from Jane/Emma. At this point in his life ERB is faithful in body if not in spirit. He declines her offer having his faithful Waziri stagger back to Jane under a load of one hundred twenty pounds of gold each.
Apparently the wealth of Opar of which tons of gold remained to be tapped as well as bushels of the very largest of diamonds (move ahead to the Father of Diamonds in the Forbidden City) is not enough to assuage Jane/Emma’s anger at Ed’s failure for the first twelve years of married life. She rejects ERB’s present income. This must have been a staggering blow for Burroughs who at this point in his life wanted to abandon his clown role for that of the hero.
He had already begun Jungle Tales Of Tarzan, which he managed to finish, otherwise from Jewels of Opar to Tarzan the Untamed there is a hiatus in Tarzan novels for thirty-nine months. For over three years he and Emma were apparently at a stalemate making it impossible for him to write further Tarzan adventures.
When Tarzan returns it is as The Untamed and he and Jane have been separated, possibly for good as Tarzan has no idea where she is; common report is that she is dead.
One may infer that the marriage is all but over. It takes another twenty-three months before Tarzan The Terrible appears. Tarzan goes from Untamed to Terrible. Apparently ERB and Emma are now temporarily reconciled as Tarzan finds Jane in the forgotten land of Pal-ul-don (paladin?) and he, she and Jack go swinging down the jungle trails to return to Equatoria. the family is reunited. But is it?
After the passage of twenty-two months Burroughs follows Terrible with Golden Lion. Now the title Golden Lion is somewhat misleading as the Lion doesn’t play that large a role in the story. The Lion seems to have sprung from Burroughs’ subconscious as a defense against the Lion of Emma. In this story Tarzan leaves Jane for a fairly extended visit to his dream lover, La in Opar. They are together for some time as they adventure into the adjacent lost valley called The Valley Of Diamonds. (Once again, see Tarzan And The Forbidden City.) Possibly the Father of Diamonds represents the Jewel of Great Price which turns out ironically to be a piece of coal. This was after ERB left Emma for Florence.
Golden Lion introduces the great doppelganger of Tarzan, Esteban Miranda. I am absolutely fascinated by this character. Miranda looks, talks and walks so much like Tarzan that not only can’t Jane/Emma tell them apart but Miranda even fools the faithful Waziri.
Golden Lion is paired with Tarzan And The Ant Men. You have to read both to get the whole story.
Esteban Miranda is a London actor, a clown and a cowardly fool. ERB goes to great lengths to deliniate the character of this unpleasant but goofily amiable alter ego.
In the confusion Miranda is captured by a savage tribe of Blacks where he is spared because of his resemblance to Tarzan. He escapes finally although he is a blithering idiot who has lost his memory. Get that! Even Tarzan’s doppelganger loses his memory. I haven’t been able to fugure out ERB’s problems with his memory yet.
He is discovered by the Waziri where he is once again mistaken for the real thing. He is taken to the ranch house where Jane nurses him back to health. Still mistakes him for the real Tarzan, he is about to be embraced lovingly by Jane when the terrible, untamed Tarzan appears through the French windows. Tarzan himself had been off having incredible adventures with the Ant Men returning just in the nick of time.
Here apparently Jane rejects Burroughs the Hero in favor of Burroughs the Clown of the first twelve years of her marriage. This is something which ERB can’t forgive. His resentment turns into a divorce about ten years later.
There is then another long hiatus of approximately forty months before Tarzan returns as Lord of the Jungle with Jane in a very subsidiary role. So in twelve years Burroughs wrote only about five Tarzan novels. Then between 1929 and 1934 he whipped out an additional seven.
The change of pace was caused by the quickening resolution of ERB’s psychological dilemma. He was obviously living his life vicariously as Tarzan.
It is this development of his psychology recorded through Tarzan that makes the oeuvre the most fascinating of River novels.
Let us understand that a writer, any writer, is always discussing his own psychology. this applies both to so-called non-fiction as well as fiction. Properly speaking there is no such thing as non-fiction. The difference between the two is that in non-fiction a writer describes actual events through a prism of so-called objectivity. In other words in writing about Edgar Rice Burroughs I am bound to adhere to the facts of ERB’s life and I cannot invent details to improve the story. However, in actuality I see what my own psychology has prepared me to see. My psychology, that is, in conjunction with my intelligence and emotional perspicuity.
Anyone who has read the autobiography of Frank Harris knows that his favorite adage is that no man can see over the top of his head. Therefore it behooves every man to broaden and develop his experience so that he can stand as tall as possible. In that way he can at least hopefully see over the heads of all his fellows. I was once fortunate enough to try this on a crowded street in Hong Kong where I stood head and shoulders above my fellow Chinese pedestrians. You could see the heads and shoulders of all the American sailors inching slowly along like icebergs in a sea of Chinese.
But seriously, one must develop one’s intelligence and that is exactly what Edgar Rice Burroughs did throughout his life. ERB was an avid reader both of fiction and non-fiction. He makes frequent allusion to Poe, Wells, Doyle and who I think he respects most, Rudyard Kipling. If you have read the great African explorers you will have no difficulty identifying sources. ERB was quick in picking up new titles also. Forbidden City was, I believe, based partially on Digging For Lost African Gods by Byron Khun de Protok published in 1926.
ERB was also forced to respond to hectoring outside criticism. I’m sure he little knew the effect that the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 would have on him personally, but by 1933′s Leopard Men he was thrown on the defensive by what H.G. Wells called the ‘Open Conspiracy’ or the Red Revolution. I will deal with it in the last essay in our series called ‘Star Begotten.’
All of Burroughs stories are many layered if you care to look beyond the surface details. After Golden Lion ERB develops a whole jungle family of attendant animals which follow him through all the stories. Each novel is merely one episode in the life of Tarzan/Burroughs and each leads to the next novel in true River fashion.
This is wonderful stuff. There is no difficulty understanding why Burroughs was the best selling author of his time.
After recording the difficulties of reconciling himself with Emma from 1916 to 1928 ERB reluctantly threw in the towel when he wrote Tarzan And The Lost Empire. The double entendre of the lost empire is explicit in between the lines. It is not only the Lost Empire deep in the Heart Of Darkness but also his dream of building a great empire with Emma. The dissolution of his marriage and his search for a real live La of Opar begins with the book.
At this point he has also come under attack by the Reds who cannot tolerate the success of a Conservative writer. Consolidating rapidly from 1917 to 1923, by this time the Revolution was in control of publishing. They could deny access to new conservative writers, creating the myth that all the best new writers were Communist in faith, but they still had to destroy the reputations of older, non-conforming writers.
I don’t know that any studies have been made of literary or journalistic attacks on ERB, but he responds as though there were many. In 1929 he took time out from his personal psychology to write a major counter-attack against the Revolution with Tarzan At The Earth’s Core.
While this may appear to be simply a critique of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, in fact Einstein was as much a political figure as a scientific one. Both he and Freud were prominent agents of the ‘Open Conspiracy’ along with that literary political agent, H.G. Wells, so that Earth’s Core is a counter-attack on his detractors.
Then in quick succession ERB turned out Tarzan the Invicinble, (watch the titles) Tarzan Triumphant, Tarzan And The City Of Gold, Tarzan And The Leopard Men and Tarzan And The Lion Man.
After a long struggle Burroughs quickly resolved his psychological dilemma. He rectified his Animus, disposing of the clown side of his nature while at the same time reconciling his Anima. He divorced Emma while marrying what he fancied was a La of Opar in Florence. The final conflict with Emma is recorded in City Of Gold. The basic idea for City was probably borrowed from Bulfinch’s The Legends Of Charlemagne. In Legends, an enchantress has captured many of the leading palladins of Charlemagne which she has imprisoned in a city of gold. The medieval writers borrowed the story of Odysseus and Circe from Homer.
In Burroughs’ story the enchantress Nemone has ‘captured’ a bemused Tarzan who may escape any time he chooses but he elects to stay around to see what will happen.
Lion Man is notable for the way Burroughs blends psychology, fiction, the movies and how the movies affect the perception of reality of movie-goers. Film, which was developed during Burroughs’ young manhood, had a profound effect on the movie-goer’s ability to distinguish real life from movie fantasy. Burroughs was qite precocious in understanding this. There are earlier references to the matter in his work but here he gives it a full scale examination, both as when the fictional Tarzan replaces the even more fictional Obroski in Africa and when as a Burroughs doppelganger Tarzan mixes on set with the movie people in Hollywood where they fail to recognize him as the real thing, Lion Man is perhaps the most interesting of all the Tarzan novels.
After Lion Man, which both rectifies his Animus and reconciles his Anima, his motive for writing fast and furious disappeared. In fact, his subject matter disappears. He had in effect run out of material. Tarzan’s Quest and Tarzan And The Forbidden City record his lingering problems with his two ladies at the age of sixty-three. You can see why he wrote it as a farce.
Tarzan And The Madman caps the story of his pschological development although he did not publish the novel during his lifetime.
At the end, as is not unusual, he returned to the beginning as in The Mad King. The totally farcical Forbidden City is an example of what his writing might have turned into if he had been allowed to publish under his pseudonym, Normal Bean. As a comic novel, Forbidden City is actually very funny, if absurd, as Tarzan is driven from pillar to post by his two women. This undoubtedly reflects his real life situation. In the end, he says, the fabulous diamond he and everyone else is seeking, the Jewel Of Great Price, is merely a mirage turning out to be as worthless as a piece of coal.
Both Lion Man and Forbidden City seem to have influenced Aldous Huxley, one of the major intellectual writers of the period. His novel, After Many A Summer Dies The Swan (1939), has allusions to Burroughs’ two novels. The theme of ‘Lion Man’ of the mad scientist, God, who reverts to a half-ape, half-man creature is replicated in Swan in which an English nobleman who has lived for two hundred years reverts to an apelike existence.
That the theme may be more than coincidental is the fact that Huxley incorporates an imaginary University of Tarzana into the story. Thus one of the great intellectuals of the period found much of deep interest in ERB’s novels while also reacting to Wells.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was in fact a great literary artist, if a trifle coarse. He is, in fact, a great talent which if the critics fail to realize it, the people don’t.
Surviving a hundred years is no small matter, it takes some talent to do that. Yet, after those hundred years ERB is still an active force in the literary coal mines. Well, it’s not like coal doesn’t burn with a pure blue flame and under pressure turn into diamonds.
November 30, 2010
A week or so after Philadelphia I got a real lesson in show business and Pop style.. Just when you think you’re getting famous, somebody comes along and makes you look like a warm up act for amateur night. Pope Paul VI, talk about advance PR- I mean, for centuries.Definitely the most Pop public appearance tour of the sixties was that isit of the Pope to New York City. He did it all in one day- October, 15, 1965. It was the most well-planned media covered personal appearance in religious (and probably show business) history. “Never Before in This Country! One Day Only! The Pope in New York City!”The funny thing for us, of course, was that Ondine was known in our crowd as “the Pope,” and one of his most famous routines was “giving the papal bull.”The (real) Pope and his entourage of aides, press and photographers left Rome early that morning on an Alitalia DC-8. Eight hours and twenty minutes later, they got off the plane at Kennedy with the Pope’s shiny robes blowing in the wind. They drove inn a motorcade through Queens- the streets were lined with people- through Harlem crowds, and then down to the jammed- for blocks St. Patrick’s Cathedral area in the Fifties- where the Pope seemed to want to go out in ‘the audience” but you could see his aides talking him out of it. After all the stuff in the cathedral he ran down the street to the Waldorf-Astoria where President Johnson was waiting. They exchanged gifts and talked for a little under an hour aout world troubles. Then it was over to address the UN General Assembly (essentially he said, “Peace, disarmament and no birth control”) out to Yankee Stadium to say Mass in front of ninety thousand people, over to the closing World’s Fair to see Michelangelo’s Pieta in its Pop context before it went back to the Vatican, and back out to Kennedy and onto a TWA plane, saying, when the reporters asked him what he liked best about New York, “Tutti Buoni” (Everything is good”) which was the Pop philosophy exactly. He was back in Rome that same night. To do that muh in that short a time with that kind of style- I can’t imagine anything more Pop than that.
I’d dreamt about Billy Name, that he was living under the stairs of my house and doing sommersaults and everything was very colorful. It was so weird, because his friends sort of invaded my house and were acting crazy in colorful costumes and jumping up and down having so much fun and they took over, they took over my life. It was so weird. It was like clowns.Everybody was a clown in a funny way, and they were just living there without letting me know, they’d come out in the morning when I wasn’t there and they’d have a lot of fun and then they’d go back and live in the closet.
I was invited to speak at the annual banquet of the New York Society For Clinical Psychiatry by the doctor who was chairman of the event. I told him I’d be glad to ‘speak’ if I could do it though movies, that I’d show Harlot and Henry Geldzahler and he said fine. Then when I met the Velvets I decided that I wanted to speak with them instead, and he said fine to that too.So one evening in the middle of January everybody in the Factory went over to the Delmonico Hotel where the banquet was taking place. We got there just as it just was starting. There were about three hundred pychiatrists and their mates and dates- and all they’d been told was that they were going to see movies after dinner. The second the main course was served, the Velvets started to blast and Nico started to wail. Gerard and Edie jumped up on the stage and started dancing, and the doors flew open and Jonas Mekas and Barbara Rudin with her crew of people with cameras and bright lights came storming into the room and rushing over to the psychiatrists asking them questions like:‘What does her vagina feel like?’‘Is his penis big enough?’‘Do you eat her out? Why are you getting embarrassed? You’re a psychiatrist; you’re not supposed to get embarrassed!Edie had come with Bobby Neuwirth. While the crews filmed and Nico sang her Dylan song, (I’ll Keep It With Mine) Gerard noticed (and he told me this later) that Edie was trying to sing, too, but even in that incredible din, it was obvious she didn’t have a voice. He always looked back to that night as the last she ever went out with us in public, except for a party here and there. He thought she’d felt upstaged that night, that she’d realized that Nico was the new girl in town.Edie and Nico were so different, there was no good reason to compare them, really. Nico was so cool, and Edie was so bubbly. But the sad thing was, Edie was taking a lot of heavy drugs, and she was getting vaguer and vaguer. Her society lady attitude toward pills had changed to an addict attitude. Some of her good friends tried to help her, but she couldn’t listen to them. She said she wanted a “career” and that she’d get one since Grossman was managing her. But how can you have a career when you don’t have the discipline to work at anything?Gerard had noticed how lost Edie looked at that psychiatrists’ banquet, but I can’t say I noticed; I was too busy watching the psychiatrists. They were really upset and some of them started to leave, the ladies in their long dresses and the men in their black ties. As if the music- the feedback actually- that the Velvets were playing wasn’t enough to drive them out, the movie lights were blinding them and the questions were making them turn red and stutter because the kids wouldn’t let up, they just kept asking for more. And Gerard did his notorious whip dance. I loved it all.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNwp4nNTeJg Clip of performance.